Meet 13 year-old Ethan of Pasadena.
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 went to the ER at his pediatrician's request and had a work-up that confirmed leukemia. He was transferred to City of Hope National Medical Center to the care of Dr. Nicole Karras for further work up and treatment. His first night there 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 what was going on and why he was receiving chemotherapy. For the next few weeks Ethan spoke to us by writing, texting on the phone or an 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. Read the rest of Ethan's story.