Described by his family as “an absolutely amazing boy,” Collin has been a fighter since day one. He was born at 32 weeks and spent the first six weeks of his life in the NICU. At the age of five, he was officially diagnosed with autism, ADHD and sensory processing disorder. At the age of six, he was diagnosed with a stage three Wilms tumor, a type of childhood cancer that starts in the kidneys.
On Thanksgiving Day of 2018, Collin and his parents were visiting family in Nashville. He wasn’t feeling well and began vomiting profusely. He complained of intense stomach pains which lead his family to believe that his appendix had ruptured. Because it was Thanksgiving, they traveled to the ER to have him checked out. Scans revealed that Collin’s appendix was fine, but he had a grapefruit sized tumor wrapped around and through his left kidney. He would need emergency surgery to remove the tumor and the kidney, and would need to begin radiation and chemotherapy soon after. The family spent close to three weeks in the Vanderbilt Children’s hospital before heading back home to Atlanta and beginning their journey at CHOA.
In December, Collin completed seven doses of radiation and recently finished his last scheduled dose of chemotherapy. For Collin’s parents, it has been an extremely difficult journey to have a child with autism and sensory disorder go through cancer. Things like accessing his port, the sounds of beeping machines, taking medications, multiple people touching him and losing his hair have all been very challenging. “It is difficult to explain what’s happening to your child when his brain and body don’t react to things in the same manner a neurotypical child would,” Collin’s family shared.
Through every obstacle he has faced, however, Collin has overcome it with a smile. He has danced his way through every trial, every poke, every scan and every hospitalization. “He is truly our hero, and brings joy into everyone’s life,” his family said.
Every child who has been diagnosed with childhood cancer inspires us to Rally On to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Please join us in the fight against childhood cancer by making a donation or setting up your own Rally fundraiser today.