Hayden – Virginia
Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT)
It’s just the flu—that’s what Hayden’s parents and doctors thought when he first became sick. Additional mysterious symptoms then led the doctors to diagnosis Hayden with acid reflux. Still, Hayden became sicker. When he began to experience double vision, his parents insisted that a CT scan be done. That’s when the doctors in Virginia found the tumor that turned out to be atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) — one of the rarest and deadliest known childhood brain tumors.
Surgeons in Roanoke removed nearly the entire tumor, but ATRT is a stubborn cancer that keeps coming back. A family friend told Hayden’s mom, Christy, about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of just a handful of pediatric cancer centers in the country researching ATRT. Shortly thereafter, Hayden was referred to St. Jude by his doctors, and Hayden began treatment at the Memphis hospital.
“Our family was overwhelmed and fearful of what each day might bring, but the hospital provided us with a glimpse of hope,” said Hayden’s father, Barry. “We felt if anyone could treat and beat this cancer it would be St. Jude; we knew that they would be Hayden’s greatest hope for survival.”