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Alex is incredibly sweet and energetic and is such a smart little boy. He loves to read and play with monster trucks, construction trucks and LEGOs. Before he was sick, his family used to joke that he was “the Hulk” because he would be happy and playing one moment but would become mad if someone stopped him.
Alex and his family had been on a week-long vacation at the beach when Alex caught what seemed to be just a cold. Two days later, his body was failing. He wasn’t acting like himself, and his face and belly were swollen, so his mom, Suzanne, took him to the ER. There, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Alex’s kidneys were in acute failure because of the leukemia cells. He was immediately transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital where doctors confirmed the diagnosis. His treatment consisted of five rounds of high-dose IV chemotherapy. He was hospitalized for about five months during the treatment and recovery period, with a break every four weeks. Now he is receiving outpatient care, being monitored for recurrence, but thriving.
Suzanne’s hopes and dreams are for Alex’s leukemia to never return so he can live a normal, healthy life. She hopes that his experience can bring awareness and community to others also facing childhood cancer. “Life does not stop,” she says. “It is not on hold because of this. You have to find a way to accept this new path and take it head on. Enjoy every day and every moment. I think of the moments of Alex and me in hospital during quiet time, play time and other times when he needed extra snuggles. Find a way to care for yourself. I started exercising on days when occupational therapy visits.”
Alex is Suzanne’s hero because he is so aware of everything going on with him, but he always has a great attitude. Even if it is something he may not want to do, like take medicines, he always says, “I don’t want to, but I will because I know I have to.” Even on days when he is not feeling well, he still wants to play and is energetic and laughing. He is the strongest and bravest person she knows.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has helped to brighten the long days while Alex was hospitalized. Besides bringing comfort to the fact that new medication and treatments are being funded, the ALSF program Flashes of Hope photographed Alex in the hospital and sent prints in the mail to his family. “They were amazing and pictures I will cherish forever,” said Suzanne.
Information provided by Suzanne S., Alex’s mom
Updated January 2024
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