Cancer Can’t Slow Wesley Down
Wesley is a joyful 3-year-old who flashes big dimples when he smiles, which is often. Like most preschoolers, he prefers to run, not walk, and he loves to play with fire trucks, read about Curious George, and get dressed up for Halloween. Two years ago, he went trick-or-treating around his Menlo Park neighborhood dressed as a mail carrier.
“Wesley was already sick, but we didn't know it,” says his mom, Jean. “It's hard to look at that year’s Halloween pictures knowing that he was feeling bad, that he was getting sick with one cold after another—not just because of starting preschool—and that our lives were going to be turned upside down in a few weeks’ time.”
Everything changed on Thanksgiving Day. “I remember that awful day, those awful moments of hearing the urgent care doctor recommending a blood test, and then waiting for results, and then hearing the ‘cancer’ word,” says Jean.
Wesley left urgent care and was admitted to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, where he underwent more testing that confirmed he had pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Doctors started chemotherapy treatment three days later and told Wesley’s family that he would likely need to stay at Packard Children’s for the next month. While in the hospital, Wesley needed a haircut, so Jean took out the scissors and trimmed. To her dismay, it looked like a bowl cut, but she thought “his hair is going to fall out soon anyway,” which it did.
Jean always tried to look on the positive side, and Wesley rarely complained, despite the intensity of his treatment and occasional scares like a blood clot in his arm near his PICC line. He went home shortly before Christmas, and on December 28, they received the welcome news that he was in remission. Thanks to a survival rate of about 90 percent for children with ALL, the odds are good that Wesley will be cured.
Wesley still needs to receive maintenance treatment until he is 5, which involves taking lower doses of chemotherapy and going under anesthesia for regular lumbar punctures to make sure the cancer doesn’t return.
“Every day we get closer to the end of chemotherapy,” says Jean. “And it hasn't stopped Wesley from continuing to be joyous and sweet, and doing the same things most 3-year-olds do.”
And it won’t stop Wesley from participating in the 9th annual Summer Scamper 5k, 10k, and kids’ fun run on Sunday, June 23—along with his mom; dad, Aaron; and older sister, Avery—to raise funds for Packard Children’s and other families beginning their own health journeys at our hospital.
“Packard Children’s is an amazing, world-class, not-for-profit children's hospital, and we have been so fortunate to receive care here,” says Jean. “I want to help our community’s children and families get the vital care they need, just like we did.”
Wesley is #WhyWeScamper