To look at Owen now, as a happy, active almost 6 year old train-loving boy, you would never guess that he had a life threatening form of leukemia. You would never believe that he went through three-and-a-half years of cancer treatments involving chemotherapy, blood transfusions, countless hospitalizations for complications from treatments, including infections, and severe hypoglycemia. But he did; handling it all with remarkable grace and courage for such a young child.
It started with the simplest of things: a long weekend celebrating the 4th of July at their family vacation spot in Westerly, Rhode Island when Owen developed a faint rash on his leg. It seemed like a pretty typical summer kind of thing, that sunscreen and the heat might cause. A few days later, the rash was still there as well as a low-grade fever, so his mother, Karyn, took him to the pediatrician. The doctor sent Owen straight to the Emergency Department at Connecticut Children’s, for blood work. After many grueling hours, the most unimaginable news came that Owen had leukemia. Owen, along with his Mom and Dad, were admitted to the hospital immediately where his treatments began right away.
“Talk about your world getting turned upside down in the matter of hours.” Karyn says. “I immediately called my mother and sister, who knew we were at the hospital. I was shaking and could barely get the words out that Owen had leukemia. It took me a little bit to realize, this is every parent's worst nightmare. Owen has cancer.”
The next year was beyond challenging for Owen and his whole family. Owen had surgery to have a port put in, to only a few weeks later have it removed due to an infection. He went through many blood and platelet transfusions, his course of chemotherapy, steroids, multiple other daily medications, along with countless inpatient stays on the 8th floor, or what the family likes to refer to as the “penthouse,” because of the amazing care they received.
Owen went through another 2 and half years of treatments consisting of one long monthly visit to the clinic on the 5th floor. There, Owen and his family made many lifelong friends with the doctors, nurses, child life staff, administrators, PCA’s and other families. Thankfully, in November 2020, Owen was able to celebrate the end of treatments.
Today, Owen is in remission and still visits Connecticut Children every other month for blood counts. More importantly, Owen is now enjoying the more important things in life: family, friends, kindergarten, soccer, trains, playing Mario, and being a healthy young boy.