Childhood Cancer Heroes

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William Davis

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

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Will is a friendly, witty, outgoing, compassionate young man who likes to help others. For his Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, he wished for a community blood drive. His blood drive broke records at the high school level and with Hoxworth Blood centers. Will is selfless and rarely asks for anything. He recently graduated from Fairfield High School Magna cum Laude with Honors and was President of his German Club. He will be attending Miami University in the fall of 2023 to study Public Health: Human Disease and Epidemiology. He is an avid reader who likes history, and an active kid who bikes, walks, and jogs, but he also enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends. He especially loves watching FC Cincinnati, his hometown Major League Soccer team.

Will was a soccer player prior to diagnosis. Then, in the late summer of 2021, while Will was participating in high school soccer conditioning, he was easily becoming winded and not feeling as energetic. At first, he just thought the heat and conditioning was affecting him. At the end of his fall high school academy team season, he had a two-week break before indoor soccer started. During these two weeks, he noticed he was out of breath going up stairs and feeling more fatigued following a workout or even a day of school. When indoor soccer started in November, Will would become so light-headed he would need to sit out. The week before Thanksgiving, Will talked to his parents about his concerns, symptoms, and overall soreness and pain in his legs. They scheduled an appointment with his pediatrician for blood work and a physical, not knowing what to expect.

The day following his appointment, Will was sent back for labs and more blood work. His hemoglobin count was extremely low (5,000) and his platelets were also depleted. He was admitted to hematology oncology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where he was given multiple blood and platelets transfusions. He was diagnosed with bone marrow failure and biopsies were scheduled.

In December of that year, after one week in the hospital, Will was diagnosed with high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Will was hospitalized for 42 days during induction treatment. He lost his ability to walk at one point. Although he is considered to be in remission with zero minimal residual disease, his leukemia could relapse if he stops treatment too soon. His treatment will last two-and-a-half to three years. Currently, Will is in maintenance treatment, and beginning Blinatumomab, as his body can no longer tolerate oral chemo.

Will’s biggest hope is to be cured from cancer. He also hopes to complete his education and work in public health. He hopes to make a difference for others and continue to promote blood donation.

“He is my hero and inspiration!” said his mom, Janice. He is a hero to his family and loved ones because throughout his diagnosis and treatment he has remained positive, upbeat and optimistic, all with the attitude of helping others. He has been through some very tough and trying times and missed so many traditional high school moments, yet he has persevered. He turned his unfortunate experience of having cancer into a positive impact: making a difference in his community by understanding and seeing a need for blood donation.

To those who may also be facing a childhood cancer diagnosis, Janice shares the emphasis she puts on mindset. “Will has been as positive and productive as possible throughout his diagnosis and treatment.  When you hit low points, try to remember it’s temporary and we will get through this. Will put a lot of his energy into promoting blood donation and participating in blood drives. Giving back has helped him.”

To Janice, support and research are still needed to find cures and better treatment options for children and teens. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation raises awareness about childhood cancer, the importance of supporting siblings of children with cancer and fundraising for cancer related-research and causes. “Those things are all critical to the progress being made in treatment of childhood cancer,” she said.

“Keep bein’ cool.” – Will, at a pep rally for his blood drive and school’s homecoming

Information provided by Janice D., Will’s mom
Updated August 2023

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