Cole Patrick Fitzgerald was diagnosed on January 29, 2007 with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (non-amplified MYCN). Even before Cole was born on March 28, 2004, he has been faced with incredible challenges. Cole was a 30 week preemie twin born with lungs that were too small and bilateral dislocated hips from having no amniotic fluid in his sac for 7 weeks of our pregnancy. He was trached and on a ventilator for 2 years until April 2006 and continued to astound everyone with meeting all of his developmental milestones. Things took a tragic turn for Cole when he ran a sporadic low grade fever for 20 days beginning the day after Christmas 2006. He was taken to 2 pediatricians who thought it was pneumonia and then viral, until the 3rd pediatrician ran blood work and detected a touch of anemia. We elected to admit him to A.I. duPont for a complete workup and after 4 days of observation, he had an abdominal ultrasound which discovered an 8cm neuroblastoma tumor and the whirlwind of treatment to save his life began.
The primary tumor was below the adrenal gland above his left kidney. The cancer spread to his bone marrow and he began treatment at the end of January 2007. Between January 2007 and April 2008, Cole received 6 chemo treatments, several surgeries including tumor removal, a successful stem cell transplant at CHOP, and 12 sessions of localized radiation followed by 6 months of Accutane treatment. Cole underwent his treatment and countless tests always with a smile and an acceptance of all of the new people that were helping to save his life. Later in 2008, he was diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss caused by one of the chemotherapy drugs he received during treatment. He wears hearing aids full time and uses an in-class transmitter to help with school work. Cole works very hard for every grade he receives and he has been a consistent honor roll student since the 3rd grade.
As of October 2014, Cole is 10 years old and attends 5th grade at Birches Elementary School in Turnersville, New Jersey. He has been in remission for 7 years and has annual checkups in survivor clinic at A.I. DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. Cole has an incredible sense of humor, an infectious personality and enjoys life to the fullest. He is a born and bred across-the-board Philadelphia sports teams fan… Phillies, Eagles, Union, Flyers. He cheers for them all! He is a brown belt in karate, plays piano including composing original songs, plays baseball, loves to dance and play video games. His favorite place in the whole world is Disney World. Cole enjoys speaking and fundraising as an ambassador for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation year round with his twin sister Maeve and 12-year-old sister Maggie. He proves every day that his survival is nothing short of a miracle and he will never let his past cancer diagnosis determine his future.
Written by Keren Fitzgerald, Cole's Proud Mom
Updated: October 2014