Hope, Strength, and Healing for families coping with a child cancer diagnosis

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Eddy

Eduardo, known as Eddy, is a bright 8-year-old who loves to collect and build legos, especially if they are Mario Bros theme.

Eddy was diagnosed on May 12,2022 with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common type of cancer in children. ALL begins in the child’s bone marrow and the Leukemia cells grow rapidly, blocking and crowding the area from creating additional cells that are needed. In Eddy’s case, ALL is affecting the B cells in his immune system, which makes him more likely to get infections. His mom, Jessica, expressed that the first 24 hours upon diagnosis was a time that she would never want any family to ever have to experience. At the time of his diagnosis, Eddy had 70% of Leukemia in his body. Fortunately, this little warrior now has less than 1% of Leukemia in his body! Yes, you read that correctly, less than 1%!!! “Excellent” was the word his doctor used. Though Eddy has received this great news, he still needs a more aggressive, intense chemo treatment consisting of many long, hard days.

Thanks to the support from his older sister Mia, younger brother Jorge, and his younger cousin Noah, Eddy has a lot of loved ones that bring him company and happiness every day. Eddy’s Family Navigator and other team members from Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance had the pleasure of delivering a family Hope Chest and met with every kiddo in the home. This was such a joy-filled experience for both Eddy and his family, as well as the Family Navigator team here at Keaton’s. The team spent over an hour playing with the kiddos outside and made it as fun as possible.

Since being referred to Keaton’s, our team has had the privilege of providing financial assistance as well as emotional support to Eddy’s family on their journey so far. Most importantly, through our Family Connect Program, Eddy’s Family Navigator has built a great connection with his mom and they talk every week! This rapport has allowed Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance to support Eddy and his whole family throughout their journey.

In June, Eddy had the opportunity to take a break from his treatments and join in on another joy-filled experience with his parents and siblings, at our annual Funderland event. This is where Eddy’s Family Navigator got to officially meet the entire family for the first time and watched the family cry happy tears together.

Following the event, Eddy’s mom shared this sweet message that touched how much this time together meant to them and Eddy’s journey:

“Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance had an event for all the families of kids with cancer, and with doctor’s approval, we attended the event. God knows how much we needed that. Those 3 hours I saw Eddy laugh, I saw my kid being a kid again!! He enjoyed every single ride he got on with his sister to the fullest!! He was around other kids that are going through the same thing as he is, and he felt good. At one point I cried, I cried because for a few hours Eddy was just a regular kid. I cried because for the first time in over a month he didn’t have to worry about his port or an IV or chemo or anything cancer-related. I cried because he was able to enjoy a few hours of pure joy! Pure Joy!!! 

But just like that, reality hit us again. Cancer was still in our lives. My husband noticed Eddy’s hair falling off more than normal, more than just a few strands. This time, full chunks were falling out, and then it hit us…the moment that I was dreading for so long was here. Everyone says, ‘he is a boy, it’s just a haircut, his hair will grow back.’ I know that he is a boy and I know that his hair will grow, but it hits you different, it hits so hard, no one prepares you for that. We decided to shave his head. I cried, we cried, and we made sure to look strong in front of Eddy, but inside I was falling apart. Daddy went next, then baby brother had a turn, and finally, grandpa shaved his head as well. This was a very emotional day for all of us, but this is our reality, our new life. We will kick cancer’s butt one day at a time! In this FAMILY, we FIGHT together!!!” -Jessica (Eduardo’s mom)

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