Baby born with two types of cancers inspires other patients to go on!

Baby born with two types of cancers inspires other patients to go on!

Cancer is tough, even on adults. But the way in which Dawson, an infant, battled two of the most aggressive forms of cancer is just inspirational!

Cancer is aptly called the emperor of all maladies. It not only affects the person, but it has a deep emotional impact on the lives of those surrounding him. It toughens as well as softens a care-giver’s heart at the same time. However, when a baby born with a rare mix of cancer smiles despite of it, it provides strength to other patients who may have lost hope!

Dawson Lobao was born with a rare mix of cancer. He had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) as well as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) both at the same time. It is a condition rarely seen in infants, let alone in newborns. His white blood cells, the cells that provide him immunity against bacteria, were congesting his vital organs. He had difficulty breathing, even for a prematurely born baby.


Images: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland

However, the diagnosis was not made until much later. Eventually, his breathing stabilised and his parents took him home. In a few weeks though, he started throwing up and had frequent rashes and fever, something that concerned his mother Mandy, a dental hygienist. She took him for a consultation, but was about to get the devastating news.

What followed was a flurry of events: spinal tap, blood tests, shifting to a bigger hospital in Oakland, California, quarantine, a spinal tap again, more blood tests, all when he was barely 6 weeks. The world collapsed around David and Mandy. Dawson was immediately put on chemotherapy was practically hospitalised for months.

What may have caused his condition?

ALL and AML are rare in infants, however a prenatal cause is often involved. In addition, it is seen more frequently in certain races like Hispanics. A few genetic conditions are also implicated in the malady. For Dawson, an exposure to ionising radiations like x-rays and a few chemicals would have done the damage.

But the good news, between all the gloom is that both types of cancers respond well to chemotherapy.

How Dawson inspired people 10 times his age? Read on to find out.

How he acquired the moniker ‘Awesome Dawson’

When he was in the hospital, unknown to the parents, he had become the inspiration for other patients in the paediatric cancer ward. Other children would come by wanting to get a glimpse of Dawson. A few teenagers would confess to have derived strength from Dawson – a baby who was undergoing the chemotherapy with a smile. In their words, if he could do it, so could they. They lovingly gave him the name ‘Awesome Dawson’!

Dealing with child’s cancer as a parent

It is one of the toughest phases in the life of a parent if his child is detected with cancer, or some equally morbid condition. However, these are the things that usually help someone in this phase.

  1. Avoid seeking information from sources other than experts. Websites are full of misleading information. The ‘miracle’ cures may end up causing more harm than good for the baby. So avoid getting information from sources with dubious credibility. If you have any doubts, contact your doctor.
  2. Life should not stop. Try and get back to your routine as soon as possible. It is very important for a parent to be strong, and this happens when he is in the familiarity of his routine. Remember, this is a phase that will pass.
  3. Take a pause. Both the parents would feel that they should be with the baby all the time, and this is natural. However, it is important to get out of that zone just to dispel the negative thoughts. So it is recommended that you take a pause every day.
  4. Be the change you want to see. Many of these patients do not get a match for a bone marrow transplant. So register at your local bone marrow registry and help a baby out in need.

Back to the story, Dawson is now 2 years old and the cancers are in remission. We hope him a great life ahead!

Sources: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland

Also read: 4-year-old cancer victim featured in viral photo has finally found her peace

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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