Just like any other 6th grader, Benjamin loves playing video games, going to restaurants, playing with dogs, and traveling. He lives in North Carolina with his mom, stepdad, and older sibling. Like most families around the world, they are navigating the changes from the coronavirus in their day-to-day lives.
Unfortunately, another thing Benjamin’s family is navigating through is his recent diagnosis of ALL CML Philadelphia+, or Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with the Philadelphia chromosome. Benjamin was given his diagnosis on September 6, 2016 after ending up at the hospital due to getting hurt at school. ALL, a common childhood cancer, is a blood and bone marrow cancer that affects the white blood cells, and it occurs when the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes. The Philadelphia chromosome is an abnormality that causes CML, which is an uncommon type of blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow.
Benjamin’s expected length of treatment is 3 ½ years. He finished his infusions for ALL/CML and is in treatment with Philadelphia+. Although he is struggling with his illness, Benjamin is a very positive child and he never stops smiling. He has his family, the doctors at UNC Chapel Hill, and other childcare resources to support him through his fight. Childhood cancer is never easy and takes a toll both on the child and his or her family, and while a lot of Benjamin’s treatment is complete, he and his family are determined to get through this and beat the illness completely.
This article was drafted by Max Cure Foundation Junior Board Member Nivetha Kumar.