OKC teen works hard to bounce back from rare leukemia diagnosis

Kids with Courage
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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – 14-year-old Wyatt Williams loves to stay busy with his hands, and his favorite activity is basketball.

“He slept with the basketball,” laughs his mom, Florenda. “He has a goal in his room, and all you hear is boom boom boom.  I say you’re going to put a hole in my wall, and when you do you’re going to fix it.”

But the bouncing stopped in late 2018.

Wyatt remembers, “I got up and couldn’t walk, and I just passed out. They had to call the paramedics.”

Dr. Kisha Beg remembers the first time she saw Wyatt.

“His lips were bruised, and he had a black blister on his lip which was bleeding, and he was just pale and exhausted,” she says.

Doctors at Jimmy Everest Cancer Center diagnosed Wyatt with leukemia, something Wyatt knew was serious.

“A lot of my family has cancer and my aunt just passed away,” he says.

His mom adds, “God has the last say in everything, so you have to pray about it and let Him know He’s got it. Everything we do we’re going to pray about it.”

Wyatt has a rare sub-type of leukemia called Philadelphia Chromosome Positive.

It’s in just the past few years that a new class of drugs has become a game-changer for this type of cancer diagnosis.

It’s taken long-term survival rates for patients like Wyatt from 30 to 80 percent.

Dr. Beg says, “He has to take this one medicine from the first day to the last day of his treatment– every day.”

His mom adds, “It’s an expensive pill so I’m just praying it will actually work and so far there is no sign of cancer when they’ve tested him.”

This is great news for Wyatt, but the reality is that the treatment often leaves him very tired and nauseous.

Dr. Beg says, “He’s had some very rough times but he’s calm and laid back and respectful through all of it.”

Wyatt’s family says the JEC Clinic is part of their shelter in the storm.

“They’ve become part of our extended family,” says Florenda.

“They’re fun. I like them,” adds Wyatt.

While he misses his old routines of basketball, sports, and school, Wyatt is grateful this hard road is leading to recovery, and he’s grateful for his family fishing buddies.

If you’d like to help kids like Wyatt fight cancer, consider donating to JECFriends.org

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