Note: click any picture to view gallery in larger images.
From our Founder, Lance White
I was diagnosed with cancer on September 2, 2014. I have a blood cancer. It is called T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (or ALL). I was 13 years old and had just started 8th grade when I was diagnosed. I am now 16 and a 10th grader at Cedar Park High School. I will complete my treatments on December 29, 2017 at the age of 17.
Before my diagnosis I was never sick. I had even had a sports physical 2-weeks before me diagnosis. I played football, baseball and was a long-jumper on the track team.
I became very sick, very suddenly. We thought I had a stomach virus.
On Labor Day of 2014, my parents took me to an urgent care facility trying to find out what was wrong. After visiting the doctor, I was told to leave and head to the hospital – immediately. At the ER I was told that something was wrong and that I needed to be admitted to the hospital. I was transferred by ambulance to Dell Children’s in Austin.
The next morning I was told I had cancer and that I had to be flown to Dallas by helicopter for life-saving leukapheresis treatments. I had two treatments that took about 8 hours to complete. After finishing the treatments, I was then given my first chemo. I did not get a chance to think about things, they were just trying to save my life.
I could tell you some really bad stories about that first week… but I responded very well to the chemo. Even though it made me really sick, by the end of the week in Dallas I was told I could come home.
I have had many downs and some ups, I am healing and look forward to a more normal life soon. At one point during my primary treatment I weighed 78 pounds. I was really sick and could not control my body temperature. At the start of my fight – I weighed 115 pounds. That means I lost 37 pounds (or 32% of my weight) at that rough point.
I do have side effects from the chemo – including being diagnosed with neuropathy in my hands and feet. It makes it hard to do some things that I use to could do. They say once the chemo stops, I should get better.
I missed my entire 8th grade year of school. But started again my 9th grade year in high school. While I am getting stronger, learning is sometimes hard – but I just scored advanced on a English STAAR test.
I hope to be able to play football and baseball again in high school.
Many people ask me why I started Lift Brigade… well, I will start by saying cancer treatment is painful, scary, and lonely.
Sometimes I would be sitting in my doctor’s office or hospital bed, and I would hear crying, and screams, and sounds from other kids around me that made me want to help them and tell them, “It’s going to be okay, you just need to get through this moment.”
When Make-A-Wish came to me for my wish they told me to wish BIG, I couldn’t think of anything that would be bigger than helping other kids like me and the young kids.
There are a lot of things you don’t want to remember when you are going through cancer treatment.
I had to overcome being scared, being in extreme pain, being nauseous all of the time, being so weak I couldn’t walk or stand and so thin I couldn’t control even my own body temperature, and feeling all alone.
My hope is that through Lift Brigade, I can help others ‘get away’ and find a place to cope with their treatment experience, and to know they are not alone.
Thank you for your support!
Be the Brigade.
Here is a video chronicling Lance’s first 20 months of his cancer fight…
Lance’s fight with cancer has been documented on CaringBridge…