“Our 3rd son Caiden aka “Squish” was our joy. He was a strong, healthy, determined little boy filled with joy. In April 2019, our idyllic, naive lives were forever changed. Then 2-1/2-years-old Squish suddenly became ill and was flown from our home in Missoula, MT by Flight for Life to Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver. He was in kidney failure due to a tumor. It was cancer. The remainder of that first week was full of testing, scans, and biopsy surgery, the week went by in a horrifying blur. Our sweet little boy was in pain, scared, homesick, and continually poked and prodded, but his humor, joy, and smiles remained. We were in shock and heartbroken but determined to fight.
Squish is diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and extremely aggressive form of pediatric cancer. Statistically, his odds of beating this type of cancer is low, but as our amazing medical team at Children’s told us, Squish is not a statistic, and they had a treatment plan. Unfortunately, the treatment plan for this type of cancer is over 20-years-old. Knowing our son deserves better than a 20-year-old treatment but having no other options we moved forward with hope.
That first year after diagnosis, like a superhero, Squish endured 44 weeks of chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation. After completion of treatment in March 2020, we received the best news possible. Squish was in full remission!!
Our jubilation was short-lived. In May 2020, his scans showed that cancer had returned with a vengeance. Our medical team could offer truly little in terms of survival odds or treatment for his metastatic relapse. Again, Squish started the 20-year-old, weekly chemotherapy protocol in hopes it will slow the growth and give us more time. We had hope for a couple of years with him. In Sept 2020 scans showed that the chemotherapy was not working, Squish went on hospice, we hoped for a few months. On Oct 15th Squish was in a flight for life back to Denver in a pain crisis. The cancer had exploded, and we watch our child scream in pain, we hoped for a couple of weeks. On Oct 20, 2020, only 18 months after diagnosis, Rhabdomyosarcoma robbed Squish of his life, it stole our joy and left a hole in our hearts. Squish turned four on October 24th, four days after we lost him. We believe his medical team did all they could but due to lack of funding and research, it wasn’t enough. Squish needed and deserved a cure and should be with us today.”