In May 2018, Marric was found to have a mass in his little abdomen the size of a cantaloupe.
It was Burkitt lymphoma, a very aggressive cancer in which immune cells called B lymphocytes turn malignant and proliferate uncontrollably.
This was not Marric’s first diagnosis. He was also diagnosed with autism earlier in his life.
Medical environments can be upsetting to any child, but given Marric’s pronounced sensory issues, his mom, Amber, was unsure how he would cope.
“Noise gets to him,” she explained. “He needs his space, and if it gets too loud, too bright, he just starts kind of shutting down.”
At St. Jude, the staff met Marric where he was, helping him cope with cancer treatment as a child with autism.
They did everything from changing his bandages while he slept to preparing his favorite things to eat – especially important because his sensory issues cause him to shun a lot of foods.
St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
“Child Life stepped in by helping us come up with this amazing plan to make this as easy as possible on Marric, and it was a godsend,” said Amber.
They used play involving medical dolls to help Marric become comfortable with what was happening to him. They put books together to help explain Marric’s disease and treatment in ways he and his sister could understand.
“They’ve been incredible,” Amber continued. “I don’t think I could have done this without the Child Life specialists. I really don’t.”
Chemotherapy and surgery saved Marric’s life. Today, he is cancer-free.
“I am so proud of him. He’s so much stronger than I ever gave him credit for,” said Amber.
Meet more patients