OKLAHOMA CITY—His family calls him, ‘Super Stan’ because the toddler never seems to slow down.
Late last fall, his mother started noticing problems. Stan was getting sick after every meal, so his mom started making changes to his diet.
"We switched to organic milk, thought maybe he was just lactose intolerant,” says Lindsey Evans, Stan’s mother.
Stan was also stumbling when he walked, and started having trouble keeping his balance.
"Then he started falling, not just stumbling anymore. This isn't right,” says Evans.
Evans says they took Stan to their pediatrician several times, but the boy’s symptoms were not ceasing.
Finally, she took Stan to the emergency room and got the terrifying answer.
"Got there, did a CT scan, there was the tumor. The size of a quarter, right there on his brain,” says Evans.
The family was sent to the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer where Stan was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a common but potentially deadly form of childhood brain cancer.
"It leads to death by way of neurologic complications, so it is uniformly fatal,” says Dr. David Crawford, Stan’s physician at Jimmy Everest.
A team of specialists first had to remove Stan’s primary tumor that was located at the base of his neck.
The removal was successful, but then the little boy was started an intense regimen of chemotherapy.
Normally, Stan’s body may not have tolerated such strong doses. Chemotherapy can damage healthy cells while targeting the cancer, but doctors had planned ahead.
"We were able to do that successfully by having previously harvested bone marrow stem cells that we can put away in the freezer, and they're stored until we are ready to use them,” says Dr. Crawford.
The treatment worked and Lindsey got the news she had hoped to hear. Stan was cancer free.
Soon after, another shocking setback for the family.
"We also found out he had a heart condition too,” says Evans.
Fortunately, the boy’s heart problem can be treated with medication.
He will have to check in at Jimmy Everest every few months, but for now, his family is looking forward to the future, and little Stan starting preschool.
"I always knew he was going to do well,” says Evans.
Evans says she is grateful for the caring staff at Jimmy Everest Center, and thankful there is a cutting edge cancer facility located here in Oklahoma City.
A major goal of the Jimmy Everest Center is helping Oklahoma’s courageous kids beat cancer without having to leave home.
For more information, or if you would like to donate to cure cancer in Oklahoma kids, visit JECfriends.org.
"Kids With Courage" is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.