The first time we suspected that something was wrong was when Duncan complained of severe neck pain. An otherwise healthy 10 year-old, our lives changed the moment his pediatrician called for an x-ray that revealed that "something wasn't quite right" and that we should immediately contact a specialist. One week later, we found ourselves in the emergency room where an MRI revealed a mass on his cervical spine. After a biopsy the verdict was in. Duncan was diagnosed with Langerhan's Cell Histiocystosis.
From that day on, our lives were a blur for 4 years. Duncan started with corrective surgery to his spine, quickly followed by surgery to get a port put in so the chemo could start. His first year of chemo went without a hitch and he took it like a warrior. He was given home instruction for 3 months and began to miss out on the benefits of socializing with his peers. To help accomodate his needs, the school set him up with Skype. It helped for a bit, but the real benefits came when friends came by.
Duncan was just about to celebrate a full year free from chemo when he had a reccurence. So back on chemo he went. However, this time it wasn't so easy for him. Monthly injections of chemo were painful and resulted in a great deal of stress for all involved. Once again he took it like a warrior.
And now nearing his 5th year Histio Free, we are proud to say that our Warrior, Duncan, is now symptom free and "enjoying his life" as a junior in high school. Once banned from all physical activity, Duncan has found joy in running for his high school Cross Country team, working as a photographer for the yearbook school and publishing his photographs in railroad magazines. He continues to speak to the middle school students in town about his experiences and to "spread the word."
Duncan, and our whole family, once felt alone before we found the Histio Hike Shenadoah. It's something we look forward to each year.
So won't you please help us to spread the word and raise awareness and funds for research?
Histiocytic disorders are a group of diseases that occur when there is an over-production of white blood cells known as histiocytes that can lead to organ damage and tumor formation. This group is made up of a wide variety of conditions that can affect both children and adults.
While the search for more effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure continues, the Histiocytosis Association is dedicated to supporting and empowering the patients and families who live with these devastating diseases every day.
Please help us reach our fundraising goal. Make a gift today!
Thank you for supporting our team and the Histiocytosis Association.
Please note: the fundraising thermometers track both donations and registration fees. Registration fees are used to cover a portion of the costs of running Histio Hike Shenandoah. The remaining costs are donated by the event hosts. One-hundred percent of donations go to the Histiocytosis Association in support of its mission and programs.