In early spring of 2014 Ethan began feeling tired and was having symptoms of weight loss, vomiting, bone pain and headaches. He continued to push himself to go to school (5th grade) and play soccer. He played two full soccer games the weekend before he was diagnosed! Just before Easter he developed significant fevers and lymph nodes in his neck. We presented to the ER at his pediatrician's request and had a work up that confirmed leukemia. His first night at the hospital he developed difficulty breathing and had to have an emergency awake tracheotomy, as the lymph nodes in his neck had squeezed his airway. When Ethan awoke in the ICU and couldn't speak, it was very scary. He couldn't remember what had happened and was confused. We tried to explain to him what happened and why he was receiving chemotherapy. For the next few weeks Ethan spoke to us by writing, texting on the phone or ipad app that could speak what he typed in. He enjoyed finding new accents on the app to tease his friends and siblings. A few weeks later the tracheostomy was removed and Ethan could talk easily again.
After a month in the hospital he got to come home and continue his battle from his favorite spot, the love seat in the family room. He spent most the first year in that spot, and as you can imagine became isolated and lonely for his peers. Having the opportunity in the fall to reconnect with his peers and classmates via Hopecam in the classroom was a wonderful boost to his spirits and he really enjoyed being a part of the group. In the spring he was able to return to the classroom for a half day, and it was good for him not to feel like a total stranger when he came back to class.
We are very grateful to Hopecam for keeping Ethan's spirits up during a very dark time and helping stay connected to his friends and classmates. It definitively helped him integrate back in to class. He has completed the whole 7th grade year. Ethan still has a little over a year of Chemotherapy to complete. He will finish up before beginning High School. We would like to thank Len Forkas for this fantastic idea and Ethan's grandma "Gigi" for finding an article that was written about Hopecam and urging us to apply for the program, Thank you.
Kristin, parent of Ethan