Keegan, age 9, anaplastic large cell lymphoma

Tough boy, big heart

Keegan loves to play football. But after last season ended, his leg started bothering him, and he was taking lots of naps. His parents knew they needed to get him to the doctor. 

Last fall, football season had ended for 8-year-old Keegan, but his leg was bothering him. His parents didn’t think much of the leg pain, but when lively Keegan started taking naps during the day, they knew they had to get him to the doctor. His pediatrician referred them to an orthopedist, who did an MRI on Keegan’s leg.

By the time his parents learned that Keegan had anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare cancer of the lymph system, his orthopedist had already referred him to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

Keegan underwent six months of chemotherapy at St. Jude, and his family is grateful for the top-notch care he received. St. Jude knew what we needed before we even recognized there was a need,” Keegan’s dad said. “The way the staff schedules and interacts with the families is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s very comforting.”

 

Keegan’s family will never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Keegan is back home now and will return to St. Jude for regular checkups. “Keegan is a very energetic, outdoors-type person,” said his dad. It was disappointing for Keegan to miss out on the basketball and baseball seasons last year, but he’s already gearing up for football this fall.

He's also ready to rejoin his classmates for the fourth grade, thanks to his own determination and his teachers at St. Jude. “Keegan really enjoyed his teacher at the St. Jude School,” said his dad. “She helped him finish third grade while he was in treatment.”

His dad also said Keegan is something of a comedian, with a penchant for making the neighbors laugh. “He’s tough,” said his dad. “But he’s got a real big heart.”

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