OKLAHOMA CITY - Wesley Rouse loves to dress up like a superhero.
“Look at me,” the 6-year-old said, as he points out Batman and Robin on his t-shirt.
His sister, Penelope, shows off her shirt so her brother doesn’t upstage her.
This family of four from McLoud is appreciating every day their life is slowly returning to normal.
Two years ago, their world was rocked when Wesley’s abdomen started swelling and several visits to the doctor didn’t provide an explanation.
"We went on a trip and, when we got home, Wes' stomach had grown huge and we ended up taking him to the ER right away,” said his mother, Alecia Rouse.
On the visit, they were finally directed to Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.
A scan revealed something called a Wilms Tumor on his kidney, and it was already at stage four.
“It’s the worst thing you ever want to hear,” Alecia said.
“Stage four means it was widespread, so he had a tumor on his kidney. It had spread to the lymph nodes as well as his lungs and his liver," said Dr. Kacie Sims, a pediatric oncologist.
Before and after photographs are dramatic, showing how Wesley’s stomach immediately shrunk after the football size tumor was removed along with Wesley’s left kidney.
Sims said, because it was at an advanced stage, Wesley also had to undergo months of extra chemotherapy, radiation and a second line of medications to tackle remaining cancer spots in his lungs.
“When Wesley relapsed, we had to look at other options for chemotherapy,” Sims said.
Sims and the staff of Jimmy Everest are supporting Wesley and his family in every way they can.
“I would say you should trust the hospital staff here and their opinion,” Alecia said. “We've actually contacted different hospitals, and it always goes back to OU. They always have the right thing ahead, no matter how much we want to argue, they're pretty good."
Wesley is getting better each day.
He shows off his growing strength in the backyard by kicking in a goal that collapses the net.
This is a superhero who is fighting for the goal of a long, full life.
If you’d like to help support children like Wesley who are fighting cancer, consider a donation to Jimmy Everest Center For Cancer.
'Kids With Courage' is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.