Only 15 months after doctors found cancer riddled throughout his body, 2-year-old Gideon Purchase will celebrate the holidays at home with his family officially disease-free thanks to a pioneering clinical trial at St. Jude.
His parents Katie and Gary first noticed something wrong with their baby boy when he was just 6-months-old. He lost his appetite, slept poorly and fussed more than normal, all symptoms of teething. But after large yellow bruises and a bump suddenly appeared on his head, they knew something was wrong.
This tough toddler will spend his first holiday at home this Thanksgiving!Posted by Today Show on Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The Purchase family then received the horrific news: Gideon had stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, a classification with less than a 50% five-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society.
"His entire face and skull was full of cancer, and all of his bones were full of cancer," his St. Jude doctor, Sara Federico, told TODAY. "He had a large tumor that was present in the middle of his body."
"It's literally as bad as it gets," Katie recalled of the diagnosis. Faced with potential horrors no family should go through, the Purchases agreed to enter a clinical trial that would give their son his best shot. The new treatment approach included chemotherapy throughout along with an antibody, and it led to dramatic improvements almost right away.
In the first six weeks, the tumors in Gideon's face, arms and legs vanished. Doctors then used a bone marrow transplant and radiation to kill off the remaining cancer cells.
Gideon also received Accutane, a drug more commonly associated with acne, according to his dad. "It is shown to suppress the growth of fast growing cancer cells," Gary wrote on the family's GoFundMe 15 months ago. "The goal of this last (God willing) phase of treatment is to make sure to kill off any residual disease that may still be left in his body to prevent relapse."
All together, the doctors' efforts worked. Gideon went from having tumors in 84% of his bone marrow to 0%, Federico told TODAY. The eradication meant the toddler who had spent most of his life in a hospital could go home.
"You yearn for the day when you're not toting around an entire IV tree behind your kid," Gary told TODAY. "And then it happens, and you just kind of sit there like, 'Wow. We made it.'"
After over a year of treatment, the Purchases can finally celebrate Thanksgiving together. According to their Facebook page, Gideon is still working towards eating solid food, but the family couldn't be happier to have their energetic son back. "It makes you appreciate the little things," Gary told TODAY. "Suddenly, life's problems just don't seem like a big deal anymore."
You Might Also Like