Nov 13, 2007 - Oct 23, 2010
- Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
- Diagnosis: ETANTR / ETMR (Brain Cancer)
We called him Mr. Man. At just two years old, Alexander already exemplified traits a grown man could only aspire to be; he was courageous, strong, determined, kind, thoughtful, sweet and fun. We adored our baby-boy and loved watching him grow and flourish. Each day of Alexander’s life brought a new adventure, a new smile, a new discovery and we couldn’t wait for the next burst of infectious laughter or a sweet hug from Mr. Man.
In our worst nightmares, we could never have imagined that our fun-loving, growing, innocent, little boy would not live to see his third birthday.
On his second birthday, Alexander contracted the H1N1 flu. This in itself is a horrible illness for a child to get but it was also his lifesaver. The flu weakened Alexander enough that we could see his hand tremors. This was the first sign that something deeper was wrong. We took Alexander to many specialists and shortly after his second birthday Alexander was diagnosed with embryonal tumour with abundant neuropil and true rosettes (ETANTR). Alexander was the 36th case in recorded history and to date no child had survived this aggressive type of brain tumour.
Alexander underwent the most aggressive treatments known including: two brain surgeries, chemotherapy, high-dose chemotherapy, intrathecal chemotherapy, stem-cell transplant, brain and spinal radiation (lifetime limit), LPs, CTs, MRIs, blood draws and countless other procedures but the tumour kept growing and 10 months later on October 23rd 2010, Alexander earned his wings. How Alexander had laughed his way through everyday with a lemon sized tumour in his head and a tumour riddled spine we’ll never know.
We donated Alexander’s brain and tumour to research and using our precious child’s tumour, the University of Calgary was able to create the world’s first and only ETANTR cell line, BT-183(AB). This means that researchers now have something to do research on, besides children. His cell line is in high demand and has traveled around the world to Germany, Switzerland, England, throughout the USA and Canada. We always wanted Alexander to see the world but not like this. Several research papers have been written based on the research done using his cell line, with more papers on the way. Alexander is still fighting, through his cell line, and one day a cure will be found.