OILTON, Okla. - Six-year-old Brady Hyle hesitates before jumping into his backyard swimming pool. The Oilton first grader shows off his toy shark to a visiting photographer before diving under the water, pretending to be a shark.
It was just a year ago that another predator was swimming after him.
"He woke up and his legs would hurt, and one day he woke up and couldn't walk at all," explains his mother, Kyla Hyle.
When they took him to the doctor, they first suspected growing pains, and then he broke his arm. Twice.
Blood tests were inconclusive, so he went for further testing of his bone marrow at Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.
"There were so many cancer cells in his bone marrow that it was hard for them to even draw it out. It was so compacted, they couldn't draw the bone marrow out. It was scary. I didn't know if I'd have him," Kyla remembers.
The memory brings tears to Kyla's eyes.
"There are some kids who will have normal blood counts, and it isn't until you go to the bone marrow to see the leukemia," explained Brady's doctor, Chinni Pokola.
Brady's diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.
Although Brady's diagnosis wasn't as straight-forward as it is for some ALL patients, the treatment was. Chemotherapy slammed the brakes on his illness, and he went into remission in a matter of weeks.
Just getting that first treatment appeared to have a big psychological, if not physical impact, on Brady.
"The first day he got chemo in the hospital, I mean he was hurting. He was in pain, but he got chemo and then 10 to 15 minutes later he got out of the bed and said 'I want to walk,'" Kyla recalls.
From walking to jumping and swimming, Brady is now feeling a lot more like his old self.
"He's ready for school," says his mom. "He plays with his friends and he's rambunctious."
Dr. Pokola and Brady often talk about their favorite superheros during his clinic appointments. Brady's mom hopes Brady will some day be a superhero for other kids.
"I tell him all the time to be a doctor, a cancer doctor," she said.
If you ask Brady, he thinks it would also be cool to work in the oil field like his dad. The sky is the limit, but Brady is going to start with first grade!
If you'd like to help kids like Brady fight cancer, consider donating to JECFriends.org.
'Kids with Courage' is sponsored by the Jimmy Everest Center.