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Contact:  Mark Meche



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This is what he looked like the day after diagnosis.

That's Xander on the right, Atticus is on the left.

I can tell you that knowing something is amiss with your loved ones but not knowing just what, is the most anxious of states. It is in consideration of this sentiment that we are willing to share some details of our family saga. It is also fair to note that I would have a harder time being open about this if I were not optimistic about the outcome.

 It took us about 2 days to understand that our son was sick with leukemia and that it was ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) type B. We also found out that for his age group, if you were going to select a flavor of this disease to survive, ALL was the one. The transformation from simple parent to "patient parent" is rapid and tearful but the folks on the 17th floor and at the Pediatric/Hematology/Oncology clinic were really able to infuse us with hope and optimism. While they never did offer us guarantees, they soon had us believing there was a very good chance that our son would walk out of the hospital before too long.  The treatments started the following Monday and he was initially hospitalized for about a six weeks.

It all started with Xander complaining about back pain. At first the doctors thought it was just growing pains. It was Thursday, June 1, 2006, when Kristin took him into the doctors office. An x-ray revealed that he had a compression fracture of one lumbar vertebrae. The troubling indication was that there was no trauma, apparent or known, that could explain the fracture. The doctors refer to this circumstance as a pathological fracture and look to systemic causes to explain. A blood panel showed extremely elevated white cell count which gave rise to a frightening list of possible causes and included things much scarier that Leukemia.  

There have been and will probably continue to be some heart breaking moments but it is astonishing how quickly our parent nature transforms us when family crisis arises. It took us all of two days to see our glass as again at least half full.

Immediately after arriving at the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic and meeting Dr. Alison Friedman and Heidi Jupp we began to gather some optimism. It is hard to describe in a few sentences but Dr. Friedman and Heidi projected a sense of concern and care coupled with confidence and professionalism. Most notably she used they word cure easily and often. Over the next few hours we met more caregivers, members of Xander’s team, with a similarly determined and optimistic attitude. There is no mistaking the fact that these folks are in the business of curing cancer.

As I understand it, the funds we raise will go directly to support the Cancer Care for Children by supporting research into the causes of childhood cancer and to develop new treatments for these cancers.  I would be most grateful if you would consider sending a gift. If you give through this website, the money will go directly to them. You can also mail me a check (made out to Massachusetts General Hospital) and I will pass it along.





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