Clay was a 10 year old boy who was full of energy, spunk, attitude, and soccer balls. The Friday before he was supposed to start his 5th and final year in elementary school Clay’s family doctor called his Mom and told her to get him to a hospital a.s.a.p. As Clay, Mom and Dad heard the word, Leukemia, our lives changed forever.
Clay was diagnosed Aug 28, 2010 with a very rare form of Childhood Leukemia. It took sending his blood to Boston to determine he had CML, Chronic Myeloid leukemia. It is not a typical form of childhood Leukemia; CML is an old man’s cancer. Clay is actually the youngest CML patient on record in Las Vegas. He was a perfect candidate for a Bone Marrow transplant because of his age and health. He was however, only a candidate if he had a sibling match. After both his brother and sister were tested we were blessed as a family with not one, but two sibling matches. Cole, his big brother, was determined to be the better match and he gladly stepped up and helped his little bro out. Cole will always be a hero to our family, he saved my sons life and he says he would do it again if needed.
I remember sitting in the ICU in Las Vegas and my phone did not stop ringing, everyone wanted to know more. I was talking with my sister and I said “I can’t believe my son has cancer”. Clays head popped up from the bed and said, “what are you talking about, do I have cancer?” He had been there for about 3 days, we had talked to him about Leukemia and what it was but we had never used the term cancer with him.
In March 2011 Clay and Cole were approved and ready for a move to Salt Lake for the BMT (bone marrow transplant). Mom and Clay packed our stuff and headed to Primary Children's Medical Center. Clay was admitted and started Chemotherapy. Clays transplant day was March 17, 2011, St Patrick’s Day. Our family was able to come and celebrate with us. Clay was such a trooper, he felt crappy and miserable, but just kept fighting. He loved all the TV time and video games. The thing he remembers the most and had the most fun with in the hospital is the spit sucker. He had more fun with that dang thing. It had to be emptied a couple times a day because he would fill it up with water. The techs and nurses had fun with Clay; he would draw on the windows with the dry eraser markers and make funny faces with the nurses.
Clay and Mom went back to Las Vegas in July 2011 and he has been superb ever since. Clay and either Mom or Dad travel to Utah once a month for clinic appointments. They fly in, see the docs, and fly back out. So far Clay has been given a clean bill of health with very little side effects. He has recently gone back to school and has been cleared to play soccer again. He loves the social part of school and loves running with his team. We are so grateful for the friends we made in PCMC. Clay became writing buddies with a boy who was in transplant too. He will always be a dear friend whom we will never forget. This experience has changed our family forever. We have been humbled with service, love and support. We have been challenged emotionally, financially and spiritually. In the end, our family has grown to love those in need, honor those who we have lost, and cherish those who are still with us.
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