OKLAHOMA - Six-year-old Steven Cotter of Norman is playing basketball at home, with the help of a hoop attached to a bedroom door.
He’s playing with his dad, Steve Cotter, who is also his favorite basketball buddy.
It was not long ago Steven lost interest in basket and everything else, even food.
“He'd just start gagging and get nauseated if we talked about food, so my wife knew something was not right,” Steve said.
“Just something in my gut told me something is wrong,” said Ashley Cotter.
After a couple inconclusive emergency room visits, Ashley insisted on blood work to be done on her son.
The diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which took them directly to Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.
“No words can explain how hurt your heart is that your child is diagnosed with cancer,” Steve said.
Pediatric oncologist Dr. Ashley Baker lets Steven listen to the stethoscope during an examination.
She explains the sudden spiral of acute leukemia.
“You really don’t have a functioning immune system,” she said.
The body produces abnormal blood cells that multiply out of control.
That’s why treatment must be immediate.
In Steven’s case, she said he responded really well in the first month of chemotherapy and without many complications.
A great distraction for Steven at the clinic is his curiosity.
With little brother in tow, he follows his blood samples into the lab to see them being processed.
“We’re really thankful for a staff that lets him be involved like he is,” his mom said.
Steven has a lot to look forward to, and his doctor said she expects Steven to live to an old age.
While the cancer in his blood is now in remission, he’ll still require two more years of chemotherapy treatments to ensure it doesn’t return.
“When I feel better, I’m going outside to play basketball,” Steven said.
“He’s full of joy and blessings,” Steve said.
'Kids With Courage' is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.