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Brady is 9 years old and has had no evidence of his disease, neuroblastoma, for over 4 years! He is strong-willed and stubborn; there is no doubt these traits helped him through this battle. He loves freight trains, John Deere tractors, airplanes and his iPad. He will spend hours riding around the yard on his toy tractor. His favorite teams are the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.
Brady was a healthy and happy 3-year-old boy until spring 2012. He began attending preschool and was coming down with colds his family attributed to being exposed to germs at school. Then the colds turned to belly pain. There were several visits to the ER and the pediatrician's office over the next few months. In mid-July, he started complaining of leg pain. His family thought it was just “growing pains,” but one day, he began walking with a severe limp. The following day he was seen by another pediatrician in the office. He listened to Brady's mom, April, for less than five minutes and he immediately referred Brady to a local hospital for an ultrasound. The ultrasound technician couldn't say that she saw something, but Brady's parents knew from the look on her face that something wasn't right. Brady was admitted to the pediatric floor and an abdomen CT completed later that night confirmed there was a tumor. Brady remained inpatient through the weekend and was eventually discharged when Brady's parents took him to the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The next two days consisted of many tests and scans before he was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. Later that week, he underwent surgery to have his central line placed and was admitted to Boston Children's Hospital. He began chemotherapy treatment the next day.
He went through 18 months of aggressive treatment which included chemotherapy, several surgeries including tumor resection, many blood & platelet transfusions, MIBG therapy, stem cell transplant, radiation and CH14.18 antibody.
His family hopes Brady will live a long, fulfilling cancer-free life and for a cure so children do not have to endure the treatment or harsh side effects.
Brady is the strongest person his parents know. They are still amazed at how well he handled everything that was thrown at him. He knew at 3 years old, "I go to Boston to feel better." The strength and resilience he has is indescribable and he amazes his parents every day.
The best advice they have for other families is to take it one day at a time. Looking back, the first month after diagnosis was a blur, but it became their new normal and they adjusted. Accept help from friends and family, it takes a village; don't try to do it all on your own. Be your child's advocate: ask questions and involve yourself in morning rounds. If something doesn't seem right, speak up; you know your child better than anyone. Reach out to other parents of children with cancer, whether it's through the hospital or social media.
To them, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is an amazing non-profit bringing so much awareness and funding to childhood cancer. ALSF has given them hope that a cure will be found sooner than later and children will no longer have to endure the harsh treatment or lose their lives to cancer or the side effects.
Information provided by April Smith, Brady’s mom
Updated March 2018
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