OKLAHOMA CITY - 4-year-old Trevor DeSimone loves to help feed his family’s baby calves. Trevor was born with Down Syndrome but never slowed down until last spring.
“Last year, about March, he got where he wouldn't walk, or sit up or crawl, so I lived in the emergency room, trying to figure out what was wrong with him,” said Leslie DeSimone, his mother.
Leslie said the next few weeks were a blur until they finally got a diagnosis.
It was leukemia.
“It just turns your world upside down, completely upside down,” Leslie said.
“We have to take a lot of special precautions with kids with Down Syndrome,” said pediatric oncologist Dr. Chinni Pokola.
He said that’s because kids with Down Syndrome have higher infection risks and can only handle lower doses of chemotherapy drugs.
The cure rates are lower too, but that is constantly improving.
“With more recent oncology trials, which he's enrolled in, our cure rates have gone up. They are now only 10 points lower rather than 20-30 percent lower," Pokola said.
These days, Trevor is back on the go, walking the halls of Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.
He’s doing much better and is meeting his milestones once again, although maintenance doses of chemotherapy stretch two years into his future.
His mother feels his treatment has been on target here at Jimmy Everest.
"They explain it to you on your level, because they'll give you words that are really long, and I’m looking at them, saying 'Can you shrink that to this?' And, they do," she said.
“My hopes are that he'll stay in remission and be a long-term survivor," Pokola said.
For now, the active boy wants to get back to playing with baby calves, kicking a soccer ball with his brothers and being a little boy with a lot of growing up to do.
If you’d like to help kids like Trevor, you can donate to cure cancer in Oklahoma’s children.
Go to JECFriends.org to contribute.