Fighting cancer as a toddler and winning
Updated: May 6
Every two minutes a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. Meet a South Florida family and a nationwide foundation trying to stop the pediatric cancer clock.
Cancer is hard enough on grown ups.
It is so hard to see your loved ones go through it and it is even harder for someone to have it.
So imagine the day in January of 2019 when Kelly and Edward Regan of Boca Raton learned that their one year old little boy, Andrew - their youngest of three sons - had leukemia.
"We were thrown into this world that we didn't even know existed. Our lives changed in one minute," says Kelly.
While most children are strengthening their legs and learning to walk then run at the age of one, Andrew did the opposite.
"The first month of treatment was awful. He was on high-dose steroids for four weeks straight. He went from 20 to 27 pounds in those four weeks. He stopped walking, crawling, smiling. He didn't sleep," adds Kelly.
Andrew went on to undergo months of treatment, 12 spinal taps, two bone marrow tests, over 50 chemotherapy infusions, multiple oral medications and countless hospital visits and overnight stays.
Today, Andrew is in remission but the treatments continue - daily oral chemo and another weekly oral chemo. Not to mention IV chemotherapy in his port as well as chemo via spinal tap once every 12 weeks.
This is treatment for one little boy.
Treatment that should wrap up in March of next year.
"The treatment for his specific type of cancer is long because if they (doctors) stopped treating him once in remission, the cancer would come back and very aggressively," says Kelly.
March seems to be a very powerful month for this family.
Andrew's two older brothers - Will, age 8, and James, age 5 - are stepping up this March to make a difference in the life of their little brother and the many, many other children battling cancer worldwide.
The Regan boys have joined the St. Baldrick's Foundation festivities and will soon be shaving their heads for the second year in a row to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation began in 1999 when a couple of successful businessmen shaved their heads for donations to raise funds for kids with cancer.
Since then, St. Baldrick's fundraiser events have been established from coast to coast... most often in restaurants or local Irish pubs around St. Patrick's Day. It is a big event for our nation's first responders; they are often the first to show up and shave.
For months, Will and James have stood by their little brother's side - avoiding travel and public places for the fear of germs.
This Saturday, Andrew will stand by their side at Tim Finnegan's Irish Pub in Delray Beach as they shave their heads and invite others to do so.
You do not have to shave your head to support the cause. You can attend a St. Baldrick's Day event in your area and just enjoy the fun.
"He wasn’t taken from us. He’s here. He’s a fighter and we will continue to beat this," says Kelly.