Denlan was born in the late summer of 2014 a happy healthy little boy. His early childhood was filled with the love of Superheros and sports, the epitome of typical, until the early winter of 2017. Denlan began to feel unwell and became tired easily. On November 28th, 2017, Denlan’s mother discovered a small, asymmetrical lump on the back of Denlan’s neck. Concerned, she took him to their local pediatrician for an exam and blood test. On Friday December 1st, 2017, at 11:45am, at the age of 3, Denlan was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Further genetic testing would reveal that Denlan had a genetic abnormality in the Leukemia known as “Philadelphia Chromosome Like” abnormality which generally is associated with high risk of relapse and overall poorer long-term outcomes.
Denlan began treatment at St. Lukes MSTI Pediatrics on December 2nd, 2017, immediately following diagnosis. His treatment plan consists of three and a half years of treatment. The first 6 months of treatment were rigorous and intense but Denlan seemed to handle all that was thrown at him with the grace and maturity of an adult. He is now over 500 days into treatment and in the final phase known as Long Term Maintenance. Denlan currently undergoes daily oral chemotherapy treatments and additional weekly chemotherapy treatments, as well as monthly steroid treatments and periodic lumbar punctures with intrathecal chemotherapy. This regimen will last, barring any relapse, until February of 2021.
In the previous 6 months, Denlan has been able to return to some semblance of a normal life. He is back in school, enjoys playing with his friends, has started soccer and even went on his first vacation. And while Denlan outwardly appears to be a happy, healthy, normal 4 year old little boy, the battle he continues to wage daily is brimming just below the surface. Hopefully, with the continued support of his family, friends and community, Denlan will complete treatment in 2021 and reach cure in 2026 at the age of 12!