Two-year-old Aric is a happy, giggly toddler who loves watching the movies Minions and Max and Ruby on repeat when he’s in the hospital. On days when he’s feeling a bit better, he’ll run down the hospital halls while his parents chase him with the IV cart.
At just 20 months old Aric was diagnosed with brain cancer and has already experienced three invasive surgeries (one which lasted more than 8 hours) and chemotherapy. He’s about to start the final phase of treatment if his brain tumor is gone. This involves an extremely high dose of chemotherapy followed up with a procedure which uses his own stem cells.
However, if the tumor is still there he’ll have to endure more intensive chemotherapy, possibly another surgery, and undergo stem cell rescue…
Diagnosed with embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes, C19MC altered, Aric’s brain tumor is very rare, and scientists have just now created the technology to detect this particular type of cancer. It is so uncommon that pieces of his tumor had to be sent to different brain tumor institutions across the country to confirm his diagnosis.
For Aric’s father, Tom, watching Aric go through the effects of chemotherapy is hard. The treatment wipes him out, so much so that his usually lively toddler struggles to walk and play.
“Going through this is incredibly hard on Aric’s body, and it has a whole host of side effects and even secondary cancer risks.”
Of Aric’s qualities, Tom admires his son’s resilience the most. “The minute he feels even the slightest bit better, he will try his hardest to smile, or play, even if it’s only for a couple minutes,” he said. “He wants to enjoy his life and use up every moment of feeling good–even if it is at 2:30 a.m… It’s really the little things we often take for granted that bring incredible joy.”
Aric finished his first course of treatment in December, only to find out that his brain tumor is still there...
The road ahead for Aric and his family includes proton radiation to shrink the tumor, more doctor visits and as many small moments of feeling good as they can muster. Even when the news isn’t the brightest, Aric’s family says the ups and downs of the experience have strengthened the bonds of their family.
“When we went into this and got the diagnosis everything changed,” said Tom. “But honestly, aside from having Aric’s health back, I don’t really wish for anything else. We have gained so much more from this experience than we have lost. We gained perspective… this really brought us together even more as a family that we can rally around Aric.”