Celebrated His 4th Birthday With a Treatment "Graduation" Party

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Foods: Cheese, anything chocolate

Obsessions: Legos, Legos, Legos!!!

Favorite Activities: Cub Scouts, swimming, wrestling

When I Grow Up I Want To Be: Working for NASA

Kian was a typically rambunctious, playful, and sometimes stubborn 3 year old when he started complaining that his “head hurt.” His mother also noticed that he was having difficulty keeping his balance. Upon the advice of a pediatric neurologist, Kian was sent straight to the nearby hospital emergency room where he received a CAT scan that revealed a substantial tumor in the fourth ventricle, pressing against critical structures and blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

From there, Kian was transported by ambulance to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver, where a team of doctors from the Pediatric Neurosurgery Team were waiting to stabilize his hydrocephalus with a steroid regimen. Kian had his first ten-hour surgery three days later, performed by Dr. Todd Hankinson. The diagnosis was a Stage IV malignant Ependymoma. As a result of the surgery, Kian temporarily lost mobility on his right side, as well as speech and swallowing abilities. Before Kian started his follow-up radiation treatment, his doctors discovered that the tumor had regrown. This finding resulted in two rounds of chemotherapy and a second 10-hour surgery just three months after his first. Fortunately, the second surgery resulted in no neurological damage, so he was able to promptly begin his 33 treatments of radiation therapy, followed by two more rounds of chemotherapy.

Kian has had no new tumor growth for four years, and this summer, we hope to celebrate his fifth year, which will classify Kian as “cancer-free.” Kian’s health has been excellent, but he continues to struggle with the side effects resulting from his treatment. It is exciting to hear of pediatric brain cancer research projects funded by MAF targeted at minimizing the side effects of brain cancer treatment with more individualized and focuses treatment plans.