EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – 5-year-old Connor Lloyd is a lot like other Edmond kids his age. He loves jumping on his backyard trampoline, shooting hoops, and dressing up as Batman.
These days, both Connor and his family are readjusting to life not ruled by ALL, which stands for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“He had bruises but we thought it was from going to the park, playing on moon bounces,” recalls his dad Neil.
It was Christmas, 2017 when Connor’s family ended up at a doctor, who ordered a blood test when he noticed the collection of symptoms Connor had including fever, rashes, and bruising.
Neil says “you could tell they were uneasy by everything they were seeing.”
Their next stop was the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer.
Pediatric oncologist Dr. Chinni Pokala says Connor responded well to chemotherapy.
“For the first 6-8 months, he was coming up to the clinic about once a week getting stronger chemo,” says Dr. Pokala. “He had to get spinal tap therapy every couple weeks or so.”
Photos from that time show Connor and his parents sleeping alongside his hospital bed, reflecting the exhaustion of hospital stays that sometimes lasted for days at a time.
This is the endurance test part of fighting cancer.
For Connor, the required steroid treatments were particularly tough.
Neil Lloyd recalls, “Connor did 20 days of steroids. I mean he had full-on roid rage, and we saw him gain 20 percent of his body weight in 14 days. That is like me gaining 60 pounds in 14 days.”
The family’s sense of humor shines through in photos from that time.
In one, both Connor and his dad are smiling. They’re both bald with matching T-shirts. One says “copy” and the other “paste.”
Connor’s leukemia is now in remission, and Connor’s making his recovery milestones.
“He’s a very effervescent kid, really engaging, just a generally happy go lucky. Lots of energy!” says Dr. Pokala.
Connor’s birthday is looming, so he got his turn to carefully choose a present from the JEC toy closet.
His family says everyone on staff has been wonderful, from the janitors to the doctors.
“They just give us a warm fuzzy,” says Neil.
Connor’s family now focuses on giving back.
They’ve thrown themselves into fundraising for the Oklahoma leukemia and lymphoma society.
His parents are so happy Connor is back to the business of just growing up.
Neil Lloyd says, “He was, in many ways, the leader for us and showed us everything would be OK.”
If you’d like to help kids like Connor fight cancer, consider donating to JECFriends.org
Kids with Courage is sponsored by Friends of the Jimmy Everest Center.