OKLAHOMA CITY - Five-year-old Haden Deaver is having a ball playing with dinosaur figures in his Harrah living room.
"Listen the leader," he instructs his little brother. "We don't talk to carnivores!"
Haden certainly knows his Allosaurus from his Triceratops. The smart kid loves dinosaurs and having fun.
But, just over a year ago, a lump on his neck wouldn't go away, and his mother noticed he seemed to be under the weather.
"It was like two months on his neck. He was very pale, and he was getting bruises - more bruises every day," his mom, Christina Deaver, said.
Eventually, Haden ended up at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer, where the news was not what Christina expected to hear. Haden had acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL.
The chemotherapy drugs that knocked out those cancer cells in Haden's blood also created serious side effects. He suffered painful conditions that sound like dinosaur names including Mucositis.
"He couldn't eat anything, because he was in pain. He was on IV nutrition and morphine pain pump, and they were watching some of his liver numbers," Christina said.
Dr. Charles Saxauer remembers those tough weeks and months.
"He's had problems with side effects of medications, fever, neutropenia, some pancreatitis but he's overcome all of those," Saxauer said.
Walking down the halls of Jimmy Everest Center for his appointment, Haden steps along on his tip toes. He had to relearn to walk after dwindling to 27 pounds.
However, his bounce back is exhilarating for his family. Haden now actually looks forward to weekly trips to the clinic for check-ups and the maintenance chemo treatments.
"There was a turning point where he says 'It's procedure day,' and he knew he'd get a toy from the toy chest," Christina said.
"He's a bubbling little guy. He's doing very well," Saxauer said.
The "end of treatment" date marked on Haden's mental calendar is February 2020.
In remission, Haden is now biking, growing, playing and just being a kid.
If you'd like to help children like Haden fight cancer, continue donating to JECFriends.org.
Kids with Courage is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.