Cancer came on suddenly one day in November 2018 for Clayton. It announced itself with a sky-high fever and a dangerously low white blood cell count.
Within two hours, Clayton was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Families, like Clayton's, will never receive a bill from St. Jude for anything.
“Clayton was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia B-cell, and he’s also hypodiploid, which is a very rare form of leukemia,” said his mom, Natalie.
To get Clayton better, St. Jude offered pioneering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, a type of immunotherapy.
Natalie still remembers one of the first things her doctor told her.
He said, ‘Your job is to take care of your child as a mother and father, and our job is to heal your son.' I’ve held on to those words.
But Clayton saw things a little differently.
Healing was his job, too, he believed, so much so that before long, he’d earned a nickname.
“They all call him 'Boss Man' over there, because they give him little jobs to do, and they include him when he’s getting his blood drawn,” said Clayton’s dad, David.
Today, Clayton is better, and he’s back on the move, learning all about animals, creating art, playing basketball, baseball, football, whatever’s fun.
He doesn’t like to sit still. I’m constantly getting on him for running through mud or bouncing the basketball too much, you know. I love it about him.
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