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When Aidan started limping around the house, his parents knew something was wrong. What they didn’t know was their kind, sports-obsessed, 5 year old son was about to hear news that would alter his entire childhood.
After meeting with their family pediatrician, an x-ray and subsequent biopsy revealed that Aidan had osteosarcoma, the most common form of childhood bone cancer. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, the suggested treatment could have irreparably changed Aidan.
“At the time, the orthopedic oncology surgeon in Kansas City recommended amputating Aidan’s leg,” said his mother, Teresa.
The family hoped to avoid such a drastic procedure. Fortunately, they found a doctor in Tampa, FL from the Moffit Cancer Center who specialized in limb salvage surgery. When they sent Aidan’s scans to him, he responded with promising news.
“He told us he could save Aidan’s leg if we could get down there to see him,’” said Teresa.
So three and a half months after diagnosis, the family traveled to Tampa to keep Aidan’s leg. The doctor removed the tumor, along with two-thirds of Aidan’s femur, before performing a total knee replacement.
Aidan then underwent traditional chemotherapy over the course of nine months back at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. Now, he’s officially been off treatment for more than five years. His procedures didn’t stop with beating cancer though, as he’s been forced to undergo several different surgeries to continue correcting his leg.
“Because we didn’t have his leg amputated and he was still growing, when they did the knee replacement they had to shut down his growth plate,” said Teresa. “The only way for that leg to grow is through expandable prosthesis surgeries.”
Forgoing the initial amputation meant Aidan would keep his leg, but required these consistent procedures to ensure it maintained the proper length. Even though that’s meant attending physical therapy at least once a week for the last eight years, that hasn’t stopped Aidan from enjoying life to the fullest.
“He never feels sorry for himself and he continues to be brave through everything that’s happened,” said Teresa.
As Aidan moves into his teenage years, he’s started to better accept what he went through. He shifted into a “survive and thrive” clinic at his hospital that teaches pediatric cancer survivors how to advocate for themselves as they grow into adulthood.
That has already manifested itself when strangers ask about what happened to his leg. The surgeries weakened his bone, causing it to break twice. When he was younger he would typically gloss over the fact he even had cancer.
“For the longest time he would just tell people he broke his leg, which is true, but for the last year or two when people ask him he says, ‘I had cancer,’” said Teresa.
His family also supports Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) with Teresa serving as a Midwest Lemonade Days team leader for their local HyVee stores. ALSF means so much to their family for raising awareness and funding to one day hopefully have a cure for all pediatric cancers. Aidan, of course, volunteers too.
At age 14, five years removed from treatment, it’s obvious that no matter what hardship Aidan faces, he’ll keep standing right back up.
SuperSib Quote: “My brother is my hero. He works hard and never gives up. He has had many surgeries and countless times I wanted to hug him for 5 hours. I love him so much. He is my hero.” – Keely, Aidan’s sister
Information provided by Teresa Loney, Aidan’s mother
Updated October 2017
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