Molly’s Kids: Update on almost 2yo #HunterStrong (cancer battle in Gaston County)
The roller-coaster of childhood cancer continues for Hunter Ballard.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The roller-coaster of childhood cancer continues for Hunter Ballard. After four rounds of chemo, clear scans, and 28-days of radiation on the brain, scans in June showed this Gaston County boy’s cancer returned. This time it was on his spine with four separate areas of concern. After such great progress over seven months of intense treatments, to learn it was back was harsh whiplash for his family. Especially for his mom, Amy Henderson.
“It felt like the beginning of this horrible journey all over again,” Amy said. “Two-and-a-half months ago it was gone. Then it came back. That’s the horrible reality of ATRT.”
When we first wrote about Hunter, it was December of 2020 and he was 15-months old.
He’d just been diagnosed with a horrible rare brain tumor called ATRT. It’s not a well-known diagnosis: Most people have never heard of an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor. It’s a fast-growing cancerous tumor in the brain and spinal cord. We wrote about Hunter a few times after that original post and Amy continually updated her pages. If you follow her than you maybe know things were going really well for Hunter until BAM! In June, those scans showed his cancer return. Doctors aggressively continued the chemo treatment course.
Two months after getting that big blow, Aug. 6 scans showed good news: No new growth and the tumor on his spine had reduced by 75 percent.
“A moment of relief,” said Hunter’s Uncle Josh Henderson, who is Amy’s brother. “Hunter has had a rough summer, as has my sister. It’s tough when you don’t know what’s going on. She doesn’t know—so none of us therefore know—if his discomfort and irritability is from tumor growth or just side-effects of chemo. This last round of chemo was pretty hard on him, but the August 6th scans at least show it seems to be working.”
The cancer is aggressive. So much so, that even after the scans showed good news on August 6th, two more rounds of chemo were scheduled instantly. Add it all up and right now, Hunter is recovering from his 7th round of chemo. He’s prepping for the 8th.
Before that 8th round though, he’ll have a birthday.
His Uncle Josh asks you send a good celebratory thought this Saturday, Aug. 28, as Hunter turns TWO.
“We hope and pray progress will continue in this fight to give Hunter time to enjoy this world outside of treatment,” his Uncle Josh said. “He’s fighting hard and even on his worst days finds something to smile about. I’ll send you a video of him playing in the hospital with my sister you can post. The family has been traveling back and forth to Memphis as much as possible to help support Amy and spend as much quality time with Hunter as possible. We are certainly thankful for every good moment with him. Memphis has become a home away from home for us. None of us are ever promised a tomorrow, and right now our days revolve around our little hero.”
Thank you for the updates, Amy and Josh.
And… Hunter… HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY.
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