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When Nicholas was born, doctors noticed markings on his skin conducive to a genetic condition called NF1. Testing revealed he did have the condition, which can cause benign tumours in his central nervous system. He and his family prepared for the possibility their son may need to visit the Alberta Children’s Hospital because of it.
One day, when Nicholas started complaining of headaches and vision problems, he was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital where through an MRI, specialists discovered a 3 cm by 4 cm tumour in his brain on his optic nerve – only this one was not one of the benign they were expecting. This one was cancerous and it was aggressive. It was located in a hard to reach place, so surgery would not be possible. It was growing and impacting his sight in his left eye. Specialists would have to act fast to protect it from spreading and prevent him from going blind. He would require a year and a half of chemotherapy to try to shrink the mass.
Nicholas began his first round of chemo the following month, and thanks to his treatment, MRIs have revealed the tumour is shrinking and the sight in his left eye has come back!
His family is grateful for the supportive doctors, nurses and Child Life therapists at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and generous donors who have supported cancer research and programs at the hospital (and video games and pizza that keeps him feeling like a kid!). Their experience, and seeing so many cancer patients on the oncology clinic who don’t get to go home, have encouraged the family to give back to the hospital through their own personal fundraising.