Child, 3, diagnosed with Leukemia on Christmas Day - KMOV.com

Child, 3, diagnosed with Leukemia on Christmas Day

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Auggie Powers, 3, found out on Christmas Day that he has Leukemia. Credit: KMOV Auggie Powers, 3, found out on Christmas Day that he has Leukemia. Credit: KMOV

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Auggie Powers was a normal happy 3-year-old, but his life changed forever two months ago on Christmas Day.

Instead of opening presents under the tree, his mother, Libby rushed him to the emergency room at Mercy Children's Hospital.

“And about two hours later we found out that he had leukemia,” Libby told News 4.

Across the country everyday 43 children are diagnosed with a form of cancer.

“Nobody ever expects to get this diagnosis,” said Dr. Rob Hanson, Auggie's oncologist at Mercy Children's Hospital. “It’s obviously always a very big shock there is just disbelief and really just horror… always a scary thing to hear your child has cancer.”

Auggie has the most common type of childhood cancer, Leukemia, or cancer of the blood.

There are two types of acute leukemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Auggie suffers from ALL which starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the bloodstream. It’s also the form more easily treated.

“Here’s the reality, if we diagnose it we are almost always going to fix it if it’s this week or a week or two down the road, it’s a very curable disease” said Hanson.

Treatment of Leukemia has progressed over the past few decades. A leukemia diagnosis in the 1950s would mean an almost certain death.

“When I was a child this was not a curable disorder,” said Hanson.

But now, while treatment has advanced, 1 in 8 children diagnosed with a type of cancer will not survive.

Even as Auggie’s treatment stays on track for success, Libby still thinks about what could go wrong.

“I mean there are a lot of stories of kids not surviving ALL and to think of that, to think about your child not coming out of that, is heartbreaking.”

The advances in treating types of childhood Leukemia have led to an almost 90 percent cure rate. But that rate goes up when a child is diagnosed in the early stage of the disease.

Symptoms of childhood Leukemia include bone and joint pain, fatigue, weakness, pale skin, bleeding or bruising, fever, and weight loss

But when it’s caught in time, medical experts agree children can be treated successfully.

“After getting that initial thought of blown away, the family is usually able to recognize that it is treatable, that it is definitely a bump in the road and a different direction for a while but in the end, their kids going to be okay,” said Hanson.

Like many boys his age diagnosed with ALL, Auggie’s treatment could take up to three years. If children diagnosed with cancer do not have any sort of relapse in the five years after treatment is completed, a majority go on to lead happy normal lives.

Patients dealing with Leukemia often need multiple blood transfusions during treatment. If you’d like to donate, the American Red Cross has a link for upcoming blood drives. Mercy is also the only hospital in Missouri that is mobile for its own blood supply, click here for more information about it.

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