Slade was found to have leukemia in November 2012.
Seven-year-old Slade is something of an expert on reptiles. Boas, pythons, rattlesnakes and lizards: this junior zoologist can almost identify them all. And if he doesn’t know a reptile’s official name, he’ll give it a creative and catchy nickname just for fun.
In November 2012, Slade and his family were traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday when he developed an earache and a fever. His family took him to an after-hours clinic. There, they were shocked to learn Slade was seriously ill. The doctor who examined Slade arranged for him to travel immediately by ambulance to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The very next day, Slade was found to suffer from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood.
“I always knew about St. Jude, but never thought I would have a need for it,” says Slade’s mom. “And what a true blessing. It's the most amazing place in the world!”
Treatments invented at St. Jude have revolutionized leukemia therapy worldwide and increased the survival rate from 4% when St. Jude opened in 1962 to 94% today. And families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Slade has another year of chemotherapy to go, but his cancer is already in remission. He has been able to resume much of his normal routine back home, taking oral chemotherapy and making regular visits to his care team at St. Jude.
Slade’s St. Jude routine has become an important part of his life, too. During every visit, Slade insists on stopping at the hospital gift shop for a new toy and eating a hamburger with provolone at the popular hospital cafeteria, the Kay Kafé.
“I am so proud of the way he has handled himself through all of this,” says Slade’s mom. “How can a child go into a procedure with all those nurses and doctors around him and not be scared? But he never is. I will always be indebted to St. Jude. They are saving my child's life.”
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