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Cole Patrick Fitzgerald was diagnosed on January 29, 2007 with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (non-amplified MYCN). Even before Cole was born on March 28, 2004, he has been faced with incredible challenges. Cole was a 30 week preemie twin born with lungs that were too small and bilateral dislocated hips from having no amniotic fluid in his sac for 7 weeks of our pregnancy. He was trached and on a ventilator for 2 years until April 2006 and continued to astound everyone with meeting all of his developmental milestones. Things took a tragic turn for Cole when he ran a sporadic low grade fever for 20 days beginning the day after Christmas 2006. He was taken to 2 pediatricians who thought it was pneumonia and then viral, until the 3rd pediatrician ran blood work and detected a touch of anemia. We elected to admit him to A.I. duPont for a complete workup and after 4 days of observation, he had an abdominal ultrasound which discovered an 8cm neuroblastoma tumor and the whirlwind of treatment to save his life began.
The primary tumor was below the adrenal gland above his left kidney. The cancer spread to his bone marrow and he began treatment at the end of January 2007. Between January 2007 and April 2008, Cole received 6 chemo treatments, several surgeries including tumor removal, a successful stem cell transplant at CHOP, and 12 sessions of localized radiation followed by 6 months of Accutane treatment. Cole underwent his treatment and countless tests always with a smile and an acceptance of all of the new people that were helping to save his life. Later in 2008, he was diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss caused by one of the chemotherapy drugs he received during treatment. He wears hearing aids full time and uses an in-class transmitter to help with school work. Cole works very hard for every grade he receives and he has been a consistent honor roll student since the 3rd grade.
As of May 2016, Cole is now 12 years old and attends 6th grade at Bunker Hill Middle School in Sewell, New Jersey. He has been in remission for 9 years and has annual checkups in survivor clinic at A.I. DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. Cole has an incredible sense of humor, an infectious personality and enjoys life to the fullest. He is a born and bred across-the-board Philadelphia sports teams fan: Phillies, Eagles, Union and Flyers. He cheers for them all! He knows all of the up to the minute information on team trades, player activities and loves to chat about all things sports. Cole is a red belt in kickboxing and will be working toward his black belt in 2016. Cole plays piano, including composing original songs, and starred along with his 2 sisters in The Little Mermaid Jr. musical at his school. He loves everything WWE, enjoys gaming on his iPad and plays Xbox. His true passion comes from his speaking and fundraising on behalf of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation year-round with his twin sister Maeve and 13-year-old sister Maggie. Cole has spoken about his story to groups of 5 to 900 and he brings an inspiring perspective to the cause from growing up as a Stage 4 cancer survivor. He proves every day that his survival is nothing short of a miracle and he will never let his past cancer diagnosis determine his future.
Written by Keren Fitzgerald, Cole's Proud Mom
Updated: May 2016
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