This fall, Calvin will be in fifth grade. He's outgoing, happy, likes reading chapter books and playing kickball. But one of his favorite things to do is help take care of his 90-year-old grandmother, who, like his mother, Fahm, is from Thailand. Family is important, and even at a young age, Calvin knows this.
In July 2016, Calvin developed excruciating headaches and began to vomit. Fahm, worried at how quickly he’d become ill, took him to the emergency room. There, scans revealed a mass on Calvin’s brain, identified as a craniopharyngioma, an aggressive, non-cancerous tumor.
Calvin underwent two surgeries in California, after which his family traveled to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his continuing treatment. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.
At St. Jude, Calvin underwent two additional surgeries to help relieve pressure on his brain. He then received six weeks of proton therapy, which delivers high radiation doses directly to tumors.
“All the time, Calvin asks if it’s time to go back to St. Jude. ... At St. Jude, everyone treats you like family. We love the hospital.”
Calvins's mother, Fahm
Calvin finished treatment in December 2016, and was able to arrive home in California in time to celebrate the holidays with his family. He now visits St. Jude every three months for checkups and is always excited to come back. “All the time, Calvin asks if it’s time to go back to St. Jude,” Fahm said. “It gives me comfort that he loves the hospital so much.”
Recently, Fahm, who has worked as a production operator at a local FedEx office for 11 years, was surprised at work when she learned the Purple Eagle plane at this year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic will be named for Calvin. “This means so much to us,” said Fahm.
When Calvin was first diagnosed, FedEx provided Fahm time off so she could stay with Calvin in Memphis while he underwent treatment. “It was important to be able to be with Calvin,” Fahm said. “At St. Jude, everyone treats you like family. We love the hospital.”
Calvin is also enthusiastic about his feelings for St. Jude. “I like everything at St. Jude,” he said. “I like the other kids. And the doctors. And the nurses.”