For a cancer patient, finishing chemotherapy treatment is definitely one of the greatest battles they would want to conquer. This is why when 5-year-old Anthony Lattierre finished is 2 years of chemotherapy treatment for leukemia, the entire neighborhood celebrated with him.
To help him celebrate this milestone, a parade with bells ringing in his neighborhood was done for him. Everyone was waving, honking, and smiling. According to Robin, Anthony’s mom, she picked the superhero theme because of everything that her son has been through. And also, the fact that it takes a true hero to beat cancer.
She said, “Some of the things he’s had to go through is definitely superhero based. They don’t say this battle is easy and he’s done very well given all the things he’s had to do.”
Usually, the bell ringing is done at the hospital. But Anthony’s family said that doing this in the community where he grew up in would make this day even more special for this brave little boy. They believe that this is an even more special way to honor Anthony.
Leukemia is considered to be the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost one out of three cancers. Overall, childhood leukemia is a rare disease. According to the American Cancer Society, 3 out of 4 leukemias in children and teens are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). And most of the remaining cases are acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Cancer starts when the cells in the body will start to grow out of control. The cells in any part of the body can become cancer. Leukemias are cancers that start in the cell. They would normally develop into different types of blood cells. And most often, leukemia starts in early forms of white blood cells. However, there are other leukemias that can start in other blood cell types.
Different types of leukemias will be based if it is acute (fast-growing), chronic (slow-growing), and if it starts in the myeloid cells or the lymphoid cells. Knowing the specific type of leukemia would be a huge help for doctors to predict the child’s prognosis and also to select the best treatment for him or her.
Leukemia starts in the bone marrow. The cells can build up there and would start to crowd out the normal cells. The leukemia cells will spill into the bloodstream quickly.
While other types of leukemia can also spread to the other parts of the body – lymph nodes, spleen, liver, central nervous system, testicles, and other organs. While other childhood cancers like neuroblastoma or rhabdomyosarcoma will start in other organs and would spread to the bone marrow.
Scientists are now making progress in better understanding of the DNA inside the bone marrow stem cell that can cause them to develop into leukemia cells. By understanding these genes and chromosome changes would be able to help explain why these cells grow out of control. And also why they do not develop into normal, mature blood cells.
The doctors are now looking to use these changes in order to help them determine the prognosis and also to determine which is the best treatment for the child.
It takes a lot of courage from a child to go through this situation. And with the love and support from their parents and the people that care for them, heroes like Anthony Lattierre would be able to surpass these trials.