Spencer was diagnosed at birth (and during pregnancy) with an
inoperable terminal brain tumor.
We were told to prepare for the worst. I can still remember the doctor's words the morning our lives changed, "prepare for mortality because that is the only possible outcome." We would not accept that. I remember hearing those words and understanding what they meant but knowing that there was only one possible outcome, the only one I would accept; life for Spencer. Just a few days later on the morning Spencer was to undergo a life-threatening biopsy his entire immediate family was crammed into Spencer's room. I was rocking him and whispering in his ear, you are brave, you are a fighter, you are a survivor. I willed him every ounce of strength I had. It turned out that Spencer wouldn't need my strength that morning. Dr. Denise Adams and the entire team of Spencer's world-renowned doctors walked into Spencer's room. It was that second I knew Spencer would come home with us that day. Dr. Adams said first their duty is to do no harm. There was a very slight chance the mass would go away on its own. Since the biopsy was so risky we didn't have any choice but for the doctors to follow Spencer very closely with ultra sounds, CT scans and MRIs.
The next six months proved to be the longest period of time in our lives. Spencer was monitored weekly at the hospital. The doctors needed to be certain the mass wasn't growing. Since the doctors had never seen anything like this they could not predict what it would do and what the effects would be on Spencer and his health. Over those six months Spencer had multiple scans to monitor what we couldn't see. On the day Spencer turned 7 months old we received the news we had been waiting for since his birth; the mass was almost gone!!! We could finally breathe again.
Spencer is now a healthy and happy two-year-old and is known as a medical first! He is the only case EVER, ANYWHERE in the world to have this type of mass (rapidly involuting congenital hemangioma) within the skull. Spencer is with us today thanks to his doctors, including Dr. Denise Adams, who were willing to think outside the operating room!
Spencer's Army was established last year to help raise funds for Dr. Denise Adams and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. All of the money raised helped provide a scientist for vascular research. This year all funds will support clinical trials to investigate new medications, surgical and radiological techniques for treatments of children like Spencer. These funds are greatly needed to continue the same type of reseach that saved our son's life. Dr. Adams has said a diagnosis of a vascular anomaly is as serious as a cancer diagnosis due to the lack of research of vascular anomalies; often it will be a terminal outcome.
Your donation will also assist families who cannot afford to have their children treated at Cincinnati Children's. It is frightening enough to have an ill child but then to compound that fear with financial worries is unbearable. Families travel from all over the world, as far away as South Africa, in search of the best medical care available. They find that at CCHMC. The growing travel expenses, hotel costs, co-pays and steep deductibles, medical equipment and medicine costs and lost wages are prohibitive for many families. Please help all families have the benefit of what is proven to be life saving medical attention.
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