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Delbert Bellus

  • Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Today, Delbert is 20 years old and working in heavy equipment mechanics. He and his fiancée live happily in Texas with their “four-legged kids.” Delbert is an avid hunter, fisherman, and cook who loves to keep busy helping people as much as he can. But back in 2016, Delbert had no idea what his future would hold.

Delbert was a freshman in high school when he developed a lump on his neck. After tests and X-rays, his doctors believed the lump was merely the result of an infected lymph node and he resumed normal life. It wasn’t until his senior year that Delbert came down with severe cold symptoms that wouldn’t quit. After several failed antibiotics, a visit to the emergency room revealed a mass.

He was airlifted to UC Davis Children’s Hospital to drain the fluid around his heart. He was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma and took a break from school to begin treatment. Delbert’s oncologist recommended partaking in a six-month clinical trial. He received chemotherapy twice a month, plus lab work, scans, and visits from a home health nurse. With the help of his awesome oncology team and a sweet therapy dog, the clinical trial worked – Delbert’s cancer cells began to die away, and the mass started to shrink.

In the future, Delbert’s family is hopeful that he will continue to blaze trails like he has since day one. He graduated high school in June 2020, finished chemotherapy six days later, and started pursuing his dreams of becoming a mechanic, like his dad, one month later. His parents couldn’t be prouder of how far he’s come.

The biggest piece of advice his mom, Vickie, has to offer families facing a similar diagnosis is one Delbert’s oncologist told her, “Do not Google anything.” She found that keeping busy helped them through the hardest months, and living in the moment allowed them to still have fun. “Your child is a warrior and will forever be one,” she says.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s (ALSF) Travel for Care program helped Delbert’s family face his clinical trial without the full financial burden. By helping to fund transportation for their family, Delbert had access to the treatment he needed. Vickie recalls that season of life grateful for ALSF’s support while they were in “a dark place.”

Now, Delbert is all grown up and living life to the fullest with the people – and pets – that he loves.

Updated March 2023

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