Beckett Dougherty has spent most of his young life living at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, roughly 3,000 miles away from his home in Swift Current Saskatchewan.
Within minutes of receiving a diagnosis of infant leukemia his mother, Kelley and father, Britt, were throwing clothing and other supplies into suitcases, leaving their home behind, uncertain how long they would be away.
When he was two and a half months old, Beckett developed what looked like a rash on his legs. Then the same rash appeared on his head.
Kelley took him to the family doctor, assuming she’d be sent home with a prescription for a cream to clear it up. Instead she was sent to a paediatrician who, immediately upon seeing it and examining it, told Kelley that her precious baby had leukemia. He told her to get him to Saskatoon where a paediatric oncologist would need to see him to begin treatment.
The oncologist in Saskatoon immediately told Beckett’s parents that he would need to be transported to Toronto as infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia is extremely rare with only about ten cases a year being diagnosed in all of Canada.
Upon arrival the oncology team at SickKids repeated all of the bloodwork and diagnostic testing to ensure the accuracy of the diagnosis and to rule out any mutations that would alter the type of treatment he would need.
Immediately thereafter a comprehensive treatment plan was developed. Infant leukemia requires very intensive chemotherapy with almost all of the treatment done in-hospital.
His intensive chemotherapy treatment’s first phase was completed in early April, after seven long months.
The next phase of treatment, oral and intrathecal chemotherapy (with intrathecal chemotherapy the medicines are given via a lumbar puncture into the child’s spinal column) will take place in Saskatchewan.
Beckett will return to Toronto for occasional monitoring but the family will be able to enjoy the milestone of his first birthday at home with family and friends nearby.