When the family’s pediatrician first mentioned leukemia, Charlie, 14, and his parents, Terri and Chad, were stunned. By the end of that day, Charlie had been admitted to the acute care unit at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, where they confirmed a diagnosis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and began chemotherapy right away.
“Charlie was at soccer tryouts the day before his diagnosis,” Terri remembers. “Stomach pain was his first symptom, and then he woke up one morning with a small red rash all over his body. The pediatrician noticed that his spleen was enlarged, and blood work pointed in the direction of leukemia.”
Charlie completed six rounds of chemotherapy during active treatment and recently entered into the maintenance phase of his treatment plan. The 10 months of active treatment were difficult for Charlie, both because of the physical side effects and the need to be isolated from everyone outside of his immediate family to minimize the risk of exposure to germs. Now that he is getting strength back and having some restrictions lifted, Charlie is excited to go fishing, play soccer, and get back to school this fall.
“I couldn’t imagine being somewhere else,” Terri says. “As horrible as it is, the people we met through all this have been amazing. We’re very lucky to have the hospital just 10 minutes down the road.”