Quade's Story (Update)

As you know from last year, one of our primary missions is to share the stories of blood cancer patients. And this year is no different. 

I met Quade's mom, Michelle, early on in CellCycle. I reached out to Michelle because she too worked in healthcare directly related to blood cancer only to have the disease affect her own family. This resonated with me. The first time I met this family was when Quade was an inpatient at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. I left the hospital that day having just learned what everyone else already knew: This family is a force. During treatment, Quade and his family raised money for LLS, registered 140 people to the bone marrow donation registry and were tireless in their support of other families with a blood cancer diagnosis. Last year Quade's mom, Michelle, wrote for us. If you did not read Michelle's blog last year,  I hope you will read it here. This year Quade will tell his own story, in his own words and start CellCycle 2017 with an update. But not just any update. The blog below is the kind of story we want for all families who are dealing with a diagnosis of blood cancer. One of the biggest pleasures of CellCycle last year was being in the audience when Quade was named "Honored Hero" by LLS. A title he earned completely.

Hi, my name is Quade Marks. I am 10 years old and in the fourth grade. I love to snowboard, play the guitar, lacrosse and football. I am a blood cancer survivor, here is my story.

In April 2016, I just wrapped up 18 weeks on a competitive snowboard team and started playing spring lacrosse on my team of five years. My parents noticed that I had a lot of bruises on my arms and legs but didn’t think much about it because I’m an active kid and for me, bruises were normal.

On April 15, 2016, I went to the school nurse because my hand was swollen and I had weird rash. The nurse called my mom and soon I visited my pediatrician who took a complete blood count. When they got the results back that night, my pediatrician said I had to go straight to the emergency room because my platelets were so low. Later that night, I met my oncologist and he said I likely had leukemia. The next day, I had my first of many bone marrow biopsies, which confirmed I had acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Usually I don't fear anything but hearing that I had cancer was very scary.

After spending 161 nights in the hospital, undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, I am now cancer free! Thanks to my amazing medical team and the support of my family, lots of friends, and many people I didn't even know.

I am now back snowboarding and doing many of the same things I was doing before I was diagnosed with cancer. While I was sick, I learned how important it is to stay positive and focus on helping others. There is no way to thank everyone who helped me so I pay it forward by fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which supports patients and families battling blood cancers and funds important research for therapies that save thousands of lives every day - like mine!

It was so cool to be chosen as the Honored Hero for the 2017 Rocky Mountain Light the Night walk. I had supported the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and had attended Light the Night through my mom’s work before I was diagnosed with cancer. Soon after I was diagnosed, the team at LLS visited me at the hospital and I started fundraising from my hospital room. My goal was to raise $4,000 and thanks to the generous donations from so many people, including many bake sales and lemonade stands held by my friends and classmates, I raised over $20,000! I want to raise even more and to continue to spread the news that by working together we can hopefully soon live in a world without blood cancers. Peace Out!

You can visit Quade's website here

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