Liam is a sweet little boy who has the ability to brighten up a room in an instant. His goal is to make sure he is making everyone around him laugh. Unfortunately, he has been dealt a hand of cards in his short little life that has made him fight very hard to be here today.
On November 10, 2015, when only ten months old, Liam was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The pathology identified that he had a very rare and highly aggressive brain tumour known as AT/RT or Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour. 3 in 1,000,000 get this rare form of brain cancer.
Liam’s parents, Natasha and Jerry were living in Alberta with Liam and his older brother Ryler.
Liam had a 99% tumour resection on November 13th, 2015. He had surgery to place a shunt on December 2, 2015 and then had another day surgery to have his broviac lines placed (a central line to receive chemotherapy).
In January 2016 he had another procedure for stem cell extraction, to be used during his does of high dose chemo. High-dose chemotherapy destroys the bone marrow, which is where new blood cells are formed. This can lead to life-threatening infections, bleeding, and other problems caused by low blood cell counts. A stem cell transplant is given after the chemo to restore the blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow.
Between December 17th 2015 and June 11th, 2016, he received 6 rounds of chemo including 3 high dose chemo with stem cell transplant rounds.
In June 2016, upon completion of treatment Liam was considered NED (no evidence of disease).
He was monitored with scans and checkups every three months. Liam did remarkably well and his parents were excited with his development and how well he was progressing. The only indication of what he had been through was the scar on his skull, primarily hidden by his new head of hair.
Liam's dad, Jerry received a job transfer to Barrie, Ontario which started at the beginning of April 2017. Natasha, his brother Ryler and Liam were set to follow in July, at the end of the school year. This move was going to be a big restart on their lives as a family after all Liam had been through. The family knew they’d be in the best location if Liam’s cancer ever recurred as SicKKids is the home of many of the world’s best clinicians and researchers for AT/RT.
Liam’s final MRI in Alberta was scheduled for May 1st, 2017. That afternoon the family received the devastating news that the cancer was back. The radiologist and neurosurgeon noted a small recurrence (6mm tumour) is starting to grow in the existing tumour bed.
On May 23rd, 2017 Liam was admitted to the children’s hospital in Alberta to undergo brain surgery to resect the tumour, and send for biopsy.
The surgery was a success in that the tumour was successfully removed with great margins (meaning the healthy tissue surrounding the tumour showed no cancerous cells).
However, during the surgery Liam had a stroke. He woke up unable to use his left side at all. Thankfully, over time, he has regained a significant amount of movement, though he still has restrictions and deficits.
After Liam recovered his family knew that the best place for Liam would be at SickKids in Toronto. We moved to Ontario ahead of schedule and began to meet with their new oncology and radiation teams. They designed a special 56 week “Liam” relapse protocol, specifically for him. He also underwent intensive rehabilitation to help increase the use of his left side through physio and occupational therapy.
In July 2018 he completed the intensive phase of chemotherapy and then commenced a year-long maintenance protocol of daily oral chemotherapy, lumbar punctures, regular scans and checkups.
Liam is a very busy boy, he loves playing with his older brother, with Lego and building forts or obstacle courses, he loves watching major league baseball, riding his bike and going swimming. He has always found a way to accommodate for his left side deficiencies.