Each year over 175,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with some form of cancer. It is also the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S. Chances are you know someone whose family has been affected by childhood cancer.
We know how difficult it can be to read about childhood cancer. Over the next few days, East Valley Moms Blog is honored to share some stories of local families (with their permission) who have battled and are continuing to battle this awful disease.
With the permission of the Ronan Thompson Foundation, today we bring you the story of Ronan Sean Thompson.
Ronan Sean Thompson was born May 12, 2007. He was the little brother to darling twin boys, Liam and Quinn. From the moment Ronan was born, we knew that he was the missing piece to our family puzzle. He completed us. We were amazed and in awe of this spicy little spirit who took over our world. We spent the next 3 years in total bliss, and were so thankful for this little guy who constantly made us laugh and love harder than we had ever done before. Every single day with Ronan was a blessing.
Our perfect family changed in August of 2010, during our annual trip to my parents’ house in Washington State. It was a trip that we had been taking since the birth of Liam and Quinn, and we always took a family photo on this trip. Every year, we used this photo as our Christmas card. That August, while the boys were posing in my parents’ cornfield, happy as can be, I noticed that Ronan’s eye looked a little “off” or “lazy.” When I mentioned it to other family members, they all said they hadn’t noticed.
The following day, Liam, Quinn, Ronan and I returned home to Phoenix, and Daddy greeted us. He noticed Ronan’s eye almost immediately. That’s when I knew I should schedule an appointment with Ronan’s pediatrician.
Ronan’s great pediatrician, Dr. Lindsey Campbell, referred us to an ophthalmologist who dismissed my concerns and intuition. She did not believe there was anything wrong with my baby. But I did. Not long after our meeting started, I walked out of the appointment, and frantically started calling other doctors who might be available to see Ronan on short notice.
Dr. Brendan Cassidy agreed to see Ronan the next day. At first glance at Ronan’s eye, which was now bulging out of the socket, Dr. Cassidy immediately knew something was seriously wrong. Dr. Cassidy sent us directly to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for an MRI. The MRI showed a small mass above the left orbit of Ronan’s eye. The following day, Ronan had a CT scan done, and they found a mass in Ronan’s abdomen.
It was on this day, the 12th day of August, 2010, that Ronan, my son, my baby, my love, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Ronan’s orbital tumor was successfully removed at Phoenix Children’s Hospital on August 13, 2010, where he also received 5 rounds cycles of chemo. The tumor in his abdomen was almost completely removed by surgeons at Sloan-Kettering in New York City. Ronan responded well to the first 5 rounds of chemo, and it was only after the MIBG scan after Round 5, that we decided to forgo the standard COG protocol, the standard treatment for neuroblastoma. We moved Ronan to Sloan Kettering to continue treatment under the care of Dr. Kushner. We did this because Ronan’s scans were much improved, but he still had a lot of MIBG activity. We felt Sloan Kettering was where we needed to be. Ronan underwent radiation and ICE at Sloan. A few weeks later, Ronan’s disease took a turn for the worse. His body did not respond to the chemo, and his disease rapidly progressed. We returned to Phoenix with heavy hearts, but refused to give up.
We took Ronan to meet with Dr. Mosse at CHOP in Philadelphia. It was at CHOP that we were told that Ronan could not undergo MIBG therapy. We were told to take Ronan home, and enjoy the rest of the time we had with him.
We searched frantically for something, anything else that would help our baby. We were told to contact Dr. Giselle Sholler and she agreed to accept Ronan in her Nifurtimox trial. But Ronan’s little body gave out before we could get to San Diego for the treatment.
Ronan’s battle with Neuroblastoma ended on May 9, 2011, but his fight will go on. Ronan continues to inspire us in the way he lived his life full of passion, strength, and courage. He will live forever in our hearts and minds as the most beautiful little boy to ever have touched the earth. We, as a family, are determined to carry on his name, and find a cure for this horrible disease.
The Ronan Thompson Foundation and W Scottsdale invite guests to drink and dance at the 2nd Annual “Gold Party” on September 27 to benefit the Ronan Thompson Foundation. Charisma Carpenter best known from the hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slyer and Angel, will host the evening. Proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction will benefit the foundation. The Ronan Thompson Foundation (RTF) was formed in memory of Ronan Thompson who passed away from neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, identified by a gold ribbon which is the theme for this event. Over 12,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year. National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month’s goal is to raise awareness on the types of cancer that largely affect children, survivorship issues and raise funds for research and family support. This event is Ages 21+.
To order your tickets please visit.
This post is sponsored by:
The Brett Saks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, hopes to make our Arizona communities safer for bicyclists by teaching adults and children about road safety and mutual respect between drivers and cyclists in fun and engaging ways. We are “Shifting Gears to Saves Lives,” as more than 600 cyclists are lost each year to car-bike accidents. Learn more at gearupaz.org.