Neighbors, police, firefighters shower 7-year-old double-cancer survivor

Shelley Childers Image
Saturday, October 9, 2021
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Houston Police officers and Harris County Sheriff's deputies were filled the patient drop-off and pick-up area outside Texas Children's Hospital this afternoon.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police officers and Harris County Sheriff's deputies filled the patient drop-off and pick-up area outside Texas Children's Hospital Friday afternoon.

Lights, sirens, whistles and cheers were heard for Cayson Collins as he made his exit, surrounded by a motorcade for his drive home to Seabrook.

"This was crazy. I was not expecting any of this," said his mother, Courtney Collins.

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In his neighborhood, Seabrook Fire Dept. ladder trucks lined the street in front of his home as a crowd of neighbors cheered and waved.

At just 7 years old, Collins is in his second battle with leukemia.

"We originally were diagnosed in 2017, a month before his third birthday," said Courtney.

As a toddler, he fought and beat cancer, and his mother said they had 18 wonderful cancer-free months until this summer.

"Went in for a routine checkup in June of this year and found out the cancer was back."

A relapse in leukemia meant a more aggressive treatment plan.

Cayson needed a bone marrow transplant.

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"Parents that come to us after knowing the patient has relapsed , that they need more aggressive therapy. It's very sad and very nerve racking," said Dr. Carry Martinez, the medical director of the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Dept. at Texas Children's Hospital.

Dr. Martinez helped treat Cayson, calling him a fighter.

Courtney says Cayson's best bone marrow match was from someone in Europe, but with COVID restrictions adding time delays, they had to look stateside. That's when she was tested and was a close eight out of 10 match.

"I underwent surgery at Houston Methodist, (they) extracted my bone marrow cells, and he was infused with them on Sept. 17," Courtney said.

The transplant was so successful, Courtney said her son was allowed to return home several weeks earlier than expected.

"I'm going home! Yay!" said Cayson in a cell phone recording during his escort back home.

While his exit from Texas Children's Hospital was colorful and exciting, Courtney said she has found new perspective and now cherishes life's smaller moments.

"Take it one day at a time. Be thankful for the little things, folding laundry, doing dishes, moments with your kids. It's just one day at a time, one foot in front of the other."

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