MILLEDGEVILLE — In Georgia, cancer will affect more than 430 children this year.
Mark and Natasha Gainous heard the terrible word May 1, 2012 when doctors diagnosed their rambunctious, fun-loving son Abram “Abe” Gainous with pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
A bone marrow test on Day 29 still showed signs of the disease, placing Abe into the group of only 5 percent of children not in remission at that time mark.
A clinical trial with inpatient chemo for the next seven months knocked out the leukemia. After a long road of inpatient and outpatient therapy, Abe reached complete remission stage in the spring.
“When it finally happened, it was just a relief off of our shoulders. We knew at that point it was gone and feel confident it won’t return,” Mark said. “Some parents never get that. (Abe) has been cancer-free for a while now, and we are pretty pumped up about it.”
• Top-notch facility helps a tough kid
While in remission, the Gainous family returns to Atlanta’s Aflac Cancer Center at Egleston once a month for maintenance chemo and spinal taps. Abe remains on clinical trial to reduce a 40 percent cancer return chance.
Natasha said the last maintenance month will be August 2015.
Both parents credit the cancer facility’s world-class care.
“Egleston is an unbelievable place. Some of the best doctors in the world work there,” Mark said. “We decided Egleston would be the place for us, and we don’t regret that.”
Everything was taken care of down to financial assistance. Natasha said a social worker came the first day at Egleston.
“She knew all the paperwork we had to fill out. That was huge,” Natasha said.
The facility features a playful environment to keep children’s spirits up.
“There were some rough patches there as far as the chemotherapy went, but we never told him or acted like he was sick. We had a policy in our room where there was no negative energy, thoughts, comments or words. That’s how we wanted to keep it,” Mark said. “He’s been through a lot. I don’t think he realizes all that happened.”