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Norton Family’s Story

On the night of Feb. 16, 2015, our 7-month-old son Gavin was not eating, and he became so lethargic he went limp. He turned pale as a ghost. We ran him to the ER at Children's Hospital. Within three hours, he was admitted up to the floor, where a doctor came in and told us that they believe he has leukemia.

He had multiple abnormalities on his lab work. His hemoglobin was around 2, when it should be 12. They started a blood transfusion. He would get four blood transfusions over the next two days.

On Feb.18, he had surgery to place a central line where he could receive medicines, like chemotherapy, and get blood drawn. During the same surgery, the oncologist did a bone marrow biopsy that proved he had a type of leukemia known as AML, or acute myeloid leukemia.

Two days later, he started his first of six rounds of chemotherapy. Each round would last about a week, and every month, he would start a new round. His immune system would decrease to nothing each time, and the fear of infection put us in a reclusive state. We adjusted to a new home in the hospital and became very close with all the wonderful doctors and nurses who took care of Gavin.

The next ten months were the hardest our family has ever been through. We spent close to 200 days and nights in the hospital over those ten months. But we were strong and did not back down. Our son is the strongest person I know and fought every day for life. Now he has been in remission for a year, and every year, we celebrate the strength and courage he has shown.

Although the survival rate for AML is only 50%, Gavin was one of the blessed ones that made it thorough the treatment. With a survival rate of only 50%, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society invests so much money in the way to find a cure so that one day the survival rate will be 100%, so that all kids with AML will make it through and grow up.