Flash was born 7 weeks premature. He seemed to be perfectly healthy at birth. When he was about one week old, his NICU nurses became concerned about his inability to calm down quickly from diaper changes. They began performing daily reflex testing on Flash. When he was 18 days old, he stopped reacting to the reflex tests. His NICU team rushed him to the MRI, where they found that he had a tumor coming from his adrenal gland and compressing his spinal cord. Diaper changes were likely very painful for him.

Flash was rushed to Children’s Hospital Colorado where he was diagnosed with stage 3 Neuroblastoma. By the end of the day of his diagnosis, he had lost all movement in his left leg. When Flash was 21 days old, he endured a nine-hour long laminectomy (spine surgery) to remove the portion of the tumor that was compressing his spinal cord. That day, he also received a bone marrow aspiration and a broviac catheter insertion.

The day before Thanksgiving in 2017, when he was one month old, Flash began his first round of chemotherapy. Flash didn’t get to come home for the first time until he was 45 days old. He came home with more bells and whistles than your typical newborn. He was accompanied by oxygen tanks, feeding tubes, and a catheter in his chest that required daily flushing and weekly dressing changes. Flash received 4 rounds of chemotherapy. We knew almost immediately that he would have nerve damage in his right leg, which never returned to normal after his surgery.

After his doctor decided that his chemotherapy was complete, we scheduled the removal of Flash’s catheter. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of Flash’s battle with RSV. Flash wound up in the pediatric ICU for nearly a month on an external ventilator. After he overcame that battle, we monitored his tumor with MRIs for nearly a year.

In February of 2019, we were given the news that Flash’s tumor was completely gone. He was in full remission. Flash has continued weekly physical therapy. His new battle has been with the nerve damage in his spinal cord. There have been years of bracing, casting, and using various apparatuses to help Flash walk. After making the decision to do an Achilles release surgery, Flash took his very first independent steps in January of 2021. He can now run with his brother!

Flash has amazed and inspired everyone around him. We have a close community who we refer to as his “fan club” who have watched his journey from the very start on social media. Flash’s birth came at a time when his father and I had been married for just over a year. We had another beautiful baby boy, Phoenix, who was nearing his second birthday. We had just purchased our forever home. There was so much transition during this journey.

When we were first faced with Flash’s diagnosis, we were worried that he wouldn’t survive. When he was in the ICU battling RSV, we were worried that after beating cancer, he would succumb to this virus. We were worried that he would never walk on his own. One thing we have learned over the years is to never underestimate Flash! He has and will continue to surprise us in the most amazing ways.

Flash’s tenacity, strength, and feisty personality truly got us through it all. Everyone who meets him falls in love with him. He has never allowed any of his difficulties in life to hold him back. He has lived life as though he is no different than anyone else. But he is different, he’s special, like a superhero. Flash is my hero. He advocates for himself. He has an enthusiastic and passionate personality. He’s one of a kind.

Cheers to 3 years cancer-free on 02/19/2022!