Colton has a pretty special friend in the form of his school program teacher at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
She stays on the lookout for students that have something in common with Colton — patients from near his hometown, kids who share his interest in art, even other boys named Colton — and then she tries to schedule them into school at the same time.
She’s sort of a friendship matchmaker. And sociable, outgoing Colton loves it.
Colton is at St. Jude receiving an experimental chemotherapy for Wilms tumor with displaced anaplasia, the most aggressive form of this kidney cancer.
His dad, Daniel, said, “We're very fortunate that we were able to come here. Even though it's not a proven plan yet, the results that we've been getting and the results that they've had so far through the trial have been way better than the old protocol. He has received top-notch care that I don't believe we could duplicate anywhere.”
St. Jude goes to great lengths to maintain a kid-friendly atmosphere, even in the midst of the seriousness that comes with treating childhood cancer and other life-thretening diseases.
I've never seen anything like it. It’s awesome.
In addition to chemotherapy, Colton has received radiation therapy and surgery to remove his left kidney. He’s been tough throughout, but the idea of major surgery was scary to him.
“I was nervous,” he admitted. “I was like, ‘Is it gonna hurt?’ I said I was gonna fight the sleepiness. I was like, ‘I'm gonna fight it. I'm gonna fight it. I'm gonna count to a hundred.’ Then I woke up. Stitches, tube up my nose, a drainage tube and ugh....”
All of this treatment comes at no cost to Colton’s family, because families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
His dad said, “We actually got medical bills from our local hospital while we were here, and it was well over $2,000 for one night. Both of us being here with him and not working would have been tough if we had to figure out how to pay for it, you know.”
Colton is excited to complete treatment so he can get back to normal life.
I want to do what I used to. I want to ride a go-kart.
He wants to eat at his favorite restaurant, play baseball, be done with pokes for a while.
“Hopefully, you know, a few months from now, he'll be running and jumping and doing his thing like he was before,” said his dad.
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