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One week after Leevi and his twin brother celebrated their second birthday Leevi got sick. On August 25, 2017 Leevi was taken to a local emergency because he was inconsolable and vomiting. Thankfully, the doctor that was working ordered a CT Scan that showed a mass in Leevi's brain. Leevi had to endure the pain of having an intraosseous line placed due to dehydration. Leevi was then flown to Janet Weis Children's Hospital for fear of increased intracranial pressure. Leevi remained stable and received Neurosurgery on August 28, 2017 that lasted seven grueling hours. a few hours later we received the Pathology report that turned our world upside down: Leevi had brain cancer (grade 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma). Leevi was stable following neurosurgery but physically was back at square one. Leevi could no longer hold his head up independently, pull himself up to a standing position, feed himself or walk. Leevi started vigorous PT and OT. During this time we met up with his Radiologist and Oncologist to come up with a game plan. Two days after neurosurgery Leevi was discharged from the hospital but we remained on site for the following three months at our local Ronald McDonald House. For the next three months family members cared for our other two children; Aiden aged 6 and Wiatt aged 2 while we gave Leevi every fighting chance we had. Two weeks post-op Leevi went back under general anesthesia to have his Mediport placed for his upcoming treatments. Two weeks after his port was placed Leevi started his cycle of 33 intense radiation treatments to his Posterior Fossa. Leevi fought through the radiation but had a very hard time with the Chemotherapy treatments that followed! Leevi lost weight, was constantly nauseous, vomited, and his blood counts plummeted leaving him with virtually no immune system. He spent the next few month fighting for his life while his father and i helplessly watched. Leevi is a very strong little boy. He fought his brain cancer head on and WON! Leevi is currently in remission but his battle is far from over. Leevi has to have MRI's performed every 3-4 months due to the aggressive nature of the cancer. Every other scan will be done under general anesthesia and last approximately five hours because his brain and entire spinal column has to be scanned. The other scans will be shorter and done under sedation and will only scan his brain. During Leevis's extensive treatment regimen and hospitalizations the only thing he enjoyed and looked forward to was his wagon rides around the hospital. Of course, Leevi had to wear a mask to protect him from germs but he didn't mind at all because he got to leave his hospital room! His leisurely wagon rides were the only thing that gave Leevi a sense of "normalcy" during the most trying time of his two short years of life! Our family is currently planning a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the annual CERN Foundations butterfly release to celebrate Leevi and many other children who had to endure brain cancer and its many unpleasant side effects and treatments. Our family will be purchasing a wagon from the Radioflyer company for our trip so that Leevi can be as comfortable as possible and save his energy. Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania would be a very deserving recipient of the Wagons for Good. The facility treats a large number of patients each year. Some include surgical patients, oncology patients as well as NICU/ICU patients. Thanks you for this amazing opportunity! God Bless.
"Hi, Christmas 1951, I received a red Radio Flyer wagon from my Uncle Dave Wilkinson. I was eleven years old then. That was the year my father died. I kept it for over thirty years. It moved from Philadelphia to Cody, Wyoming and then to Florida. When I saw one for sale in a store I had to purchase it for our grandson, Austin.When Dad died in 1951, Mom sold the car. I used the wagon to transport the groceries home from the A&P store which was over a mile away. I also used the wagon to earn money by taking groceries home from the store for ladies that hired boys with wagons; as most people did not have cars. We had a Victory Garden on a vacant lot back then. I used the wagon to haul pails of water to the garden. I had a Germantown Courier newspaper route and later a Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper route. I remember using the wagon for delivering the Sunday papers. Once when I rebuilt the engine of my 1941 Ford, I used the wagon to transport the V 8 motor to our basement, where I put new pistons, rings, bearings a 3/4 race cam and aluminum heads on the motor. I used a tripod and chain hoist to remove and install the motor which weighed over 400 lbs. That was a tough wagon! When we moved to Cody, Wyoming the wagon went with us. We used it in gardening as we grew a lot of our vegetables. When we moved to Florida and Austin's mother, Faith, was his age, the older children used to pull her around in the wagon. Finally after years of service in Florida's humid wet climate I had to retire it."