Childhood Cancer Heroes

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Ian Kelly

  • Neuroblastoma

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Ian is an avid sports fan. Whether it’s soccer, baseball or football, he wants to be on the field or watching from the couch with his dad. He supports all Kansas City teams from the Royals to Sporting soccer club to the Chiefs. He has a very compassionate heart and loves making the other 5-year-old kids in his class laugh. Ian is always on the move, especially when it comes to following his big brother Ross around. He can hardly stay put, and even amid his cancer treatments, the doctors were shocked by how active Ian was.

Before he was a full day old, a tumor was found behind Ian’s belly button that wrapped around his spine. He was transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital at 3 days old and was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma that had spread to his bones, skull and eyes.

At the time, Ian was too young for a tumor resection, instead, he underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and took other medications. He relapsed a month after his first birthday, and this time was able to have all but the edge of his tumor removed. After four more rounds of a different chemotherapy, he completed treatment in 2016. Although he is not cancer-free, Ian is now stable and able to move forward being monitored without treatment.

Ian’s mom, Lauren, hopes that in the future, her son will live a happy life, continuing to be the strong, compassionate and kind boy he already is. She dreams of one day living in a world where no family has to hear the words “your child had cancer,” and no 19-day-old infant has to receive the same treatment, at the same dosage, as an adult male. That’s why they joined forces with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to raise awareness and help fund research that may lead to better treatment options and a cure.

The strength that Ian demonstrated amidst his battle was that of someone beyond his years. Ian’s family firmly believes that his stubborn personality wasn’t going to let cancer keep him from having fun. They are amazed at how he took such a devastating situation and made it into something amazing. Ian loves helping other kids like him, and his experiences have allowed him to become such a kind child with a big heart.

For families dealing with a cancer diagnosis, Ian’s family understands what it is like to long for a “normal” life. They suggest asking for help from family, friends, church and fellow cancer families. Lauren wants to warn others against “googling” questions you may have. If you decide you want to know more information about anything, sources like your doctor or ALSF are much more reliable than anything online. Above all, Ian’s family hopes that others may learn to enjoy the small things because even in the worst circumstances, there is still joy to be found.

Ian and his family are grateful to have ALSF as a source of hope for better treatments and a cure. They also found a sense of community with ALSF, reminding them that they are not alone. The SuperSibs program allowed Ian’s brother, Ross to understand Ian’s fight, and now the whole family participates in Midwest Lemonade Days. They’ve participated in several local ALSF events and are holding their sixth lemonade stand this year in support of the fight against childhood cancer.

SuperSib Quote: “It (ALSF) is for kids like my brother who have cancer so they can get the medicine they need to get better.” – Ross

Information provided by Lauren Kelly, Ian’s mom
Updated June 2020

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