Texas Children's Hospital succeeds with pediatric cancer treatments

Erik Barajas Image
Friday, March 25, 2016
TCH succeeds with pediatric cancer treatments
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Texas Children's Hospital is using various methods to help patients fight the biggest battle of their young lives.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Being told you have cancer is a shock to anyone, but it hits especially hard when it's young patients who are facing that diagnosis.

"Nothing ever prepares you as a parent that the time that you're told that your child has cancer," Laurie DeClaire told us.

Her son Patrick was nine when he was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system.

Laurie recalls when her husband Chris told their son the news.

"And he looked at my husband, his dad and said, 'Daddy am I going to die?' No parent should ever have to hear their child ask if they're going to die," Laurie said.

But the team at Texas Children's Cancer Center was there for Patrick and his family every step of the way, medically and emotionally.

"This disease is difficult to treat. It's rare and needs a lot of therapy. And so one person, one set of doctors can't do it. Patrick has a team of doctors, nurses, child life specialists, surgeons, everybody helping him together," Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades said.

So a customized treatment plan was created for Patrick to aggressively attack the cancer.

"Treatments are hard for me. The most difficult ones were going through the first 7 rounds of Chemo. 'Cause it made me nauseous very often," Patrick said.

Laurie said, "It was during those initial rounds of chemotherapy that, that particular tumor that was into the spine went away, so that was our first miracle along our journey with cancer."

Even though there was some progress, there was more that had to be done to get Patrick on the road to remission.

Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades said, "He's gotten every modality of therapy that we have available and he really required all of them to go into remission."

That includes stem cell transplant therapy.

"One time he was in transplant and he was in a lot of pain and I said Patrick I'm really sorry you're going through this. And he said it's no big thing, I got this. And that's been his attitude throughout this whole experience," Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades shared with us.

But that positive attitude, along with a strong support system, helped him in his fight against cancer. Over time, the family received the news they were praying for.

"Medically speaking he's in remission. We believe that he's heeled," Laurie said.

In the future, Patrick plans on helping children fight the battle he's gone through, so they may have the same success.

"I will hopefully go to college and get a successful degree so that I may become a child life specialist," Patrick said. "I'll be able to make children happy and give them hope that they can get through cancer."