It started with an incorrect diagnosis of ADHD. The medication given for it had a known side-effect of vomiting that would start after a few days and then dissipate. Only it didn’t. We were told to go to the ER to get David hospitalized. May 2003. That’s the month that officially began a lifelong battle and journey for David and us. In the ER he was immediately diagnosed with having a tumor which turned out to be the size of a grapefruit and stretched from his skull base down through his mouth and into his throat.
We pretty much didn’t leave the hospital more than 2-3 days at a time for the next 2 years. David was diagnosed with an atypical Stage IV Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma. Over the next two years, he coded at least 3 times. We were told more than once to go get a gravesite ready. Little did doctors know that despite the overwhelming odds they were dealing with a fighter of some serious stature.
With all the prognostications of a pending death, David was granted a ‘Make A Wish’. He gave it away. He gave it to other children in the Hem/Onc Ward. He was temporarily released from the hospital and escorted in a wheelchair to Toys R Us to buy toys that would be distributed to all the kids in the ward. That’s the kind of person who despite fighting just to live was giving away his ‘Make A Wish’ to others around him.
During treatment there were lots of ups and downs. He was atypical in every way – location, reaction to treatment, you name it. He ended up on experimental chemo protocols which ended up being adopted for this type of cancer. He was in a cutting-edge surgery that saved his life and created awareness of that type of endoscopic surgery that spread like wildfire and helped saved many other lives
He lost many battles. He continues to suffer from the damage caused by the tumor, the radiation effects on the brain, and the chemotherapy. But he lived and we are blessed to have him with us as an example of a warrior of such great stature who even in the throes of battling death always thought of other people and wanted to help them.
We are so honored to have Tom Mitchell carry the bravery and determination forward with him as he runs the Moab 240.