Charity of the month: Cal's Angels
Cal's Angels was nominated by Nina Stanley, an employee in our Oakbrook Office. Nina and her family know first hand how this organization helps families with children fighting cancer. Here is her son Grayson's story:
Greyson was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on August 25, 2017. The treatment plan is aggressive which had Greyson go through 5 rounds of inpatient chemotherapy treatment at Luries Children’s Hospital. Greyson’s last chemo round was completed in early January 2018. Unfortunately, one month later, we were told that his Leukemia was back in his spine and brain. Greyson then started another 2 rounds of chemo, along with several spinal chemo injections. We began our next steps to prepare for his stem cell transplant in March, and a brain MRI was required prior to transplant. Once again, we faced another setback as the MRI showed Greyson’s leukemia in the brain (brain chloroma) had grown significantly. We were admitted to the ICU that same day of the MRI due to the poor results of the MRI. His chemo treatments were not treating the leukemia in his brain as we had hoped but instead his brain chloromas were getting worse and caused extreme swelling in his brain. Steroids were immediately given to reduce the swelling, and soon after we started 14 days of brain and spinal radiation to attempt clearing his leukemia and get Greyson to transplant. Upon completion of radiation, a followup brain and spine MRI was done and results showed significant improvement, which gave us the green light to move forward with his stem cell transplant.
Greyson was admitted to Luries on May 3rd, 2018 to begin his stem cell transplant process. This included 7 days of chemo and then the transplant took place on May 10th. Greyson’s new stem cells took to his body very quickly and by day 10, the donor cells started to show up on his daily blood draws. During the transplant recovery, Greyson dealt with a multitude of side effects such as radiation recall and engraftment syndrome that caused him to be admitted to ICU and then intubated for 4 days. Thankfully after 4 days, he was extubated safely, however he then dealt ICU psychosis for nearly 7 days. After all of this, Greyson continued to show us how strong he was by slowly getting better each day and back to his normal self. After 49 consecutive days in the hospital, our team of doctors cleared him for discharge to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). This was such great news as we were finally able to be together as a family again. We spent 10 days at RMH and unexpectedly, since Greyson was recovering well, they allowed us to bring Greyson home. They prepared us to be at RMH for about 4 weeks, so this news was incredible. Greyson was so happy to finally be back home after 59 days away.
Fast forward to today, Greyson is having bi-weekly clinic visits to Lurie’s, as well as weekly therapy sessions, including physical, speech and occupation therapy. Additionally, he takes multiple daily medications and will have follow up biopsies and scans every 3 months. Greyson continues to be a happy 2-year-old boy that enjoys playing with his big sister every chance he gets. While each day is a worry for us, we are thankful for each day together and are so appreciative of the love and support we have received during this journey.