STILLWELL, Okla. (KFOR) – 21-year-old Malcolm Spotted Crow celebrated his birthday in January, and age 21 was a milestone year he and his family were thrilled that he was able to reach.
"Literally, all you can do is be positive and have positive hopes," Malcolm said.
When he was just 13, doctors found a mass in the back of his head, in his pineal gland.
"He came in with horrible headaches and vision problems," recalls Dr. Renee Mcnall-Knapp. "It turned out to be a really rare tumor, and there are only a few case reports and no reports on how to treat it appropriately."
Dr. Mcnall-Knapp from Jimmy Everest Cancer Center helped create a treatment plan that included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Malcolm enjoyed a seven-year break from cancer following this grueling step-by-step treatment.
When asked about his doctor, Malcolm is quick to say, "She's a good woman. I like her and she's a good friend. She helped me keep my head up and everything else."
Malcolm returned to his medical team at age 19, but not by choice.
Two tumors returned this time.
"They just cut me open an inch, to get some tests, trying to find out what's in my brain," he said.
Malcolm's JEC medical team turned to a clinical trial this time, and it's working really well so far.
"She was like, the tumors have shrunk," says Malcolm with a smile. "I was like, 'Whew! Thank goodness!' I felt so happy, like I could finally breathe."
Malcolm's mother, Kari Duncan, tearfully adds, "I want to thank OU Children's Hospital for taking care of my son."
Malcolm's medical journey is far from over. His condition is so far, there really isn't a roadmap.
Dr. McNall-Knapp says, "He's trying to thread that balance of living life and being a young 21 in the world and having to go through this treatment. It's tough for him, really tough."
But with his family and his medical team by his side, Malcolm Spotted Crow is cautiously putting his foot on the gas again, 4-wheeling into a future that offers him both hope and joy.
If you'd like to help young people like Malcolm fight cancer, consider donating to JECFriend.org.