Malcolm’s Many Miracles
Looking at the bright side is never easy when a child has cancer. But Malcolm’s mother Samara sees their experience sprinkled with miracles at nearly every turn.
Malcolm was 4 years old when he came down with what seemed like a typical stomachache and fever. At the same time, Samara’s grandmother passed away so she left their home in for California to help with the funeral. When her husband, Todd, told her their son’s fever was still hanging on days later, Samara was filled with the horrible feeling that something was very wrong. She asked Todd to take Malcolm to the ER.
Soon after, Samara answered the phone and heard news that made the world around her fall silent. Malcolm had advanced stage 4 neuroblastoma. He was dealing with a softball-sized tumor in his abdomen and more within his brain. Suddenly, nothing else mattered. Samara didn’t know if her son would even be alive by the time she returned home.
It was Memorial Day weekend and flights were limited. Luckily, some of her friends had standby tickets and she got home in 48 hours. Malcolm started going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments in Iowa. They should have seen some significant progress after 10 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery—yet nothing had changed—he was just as sick as ever.
It was time to try something else. Malcolm’s packet of information was sent to 13 hospitals and everyone was in agreement—he should be seen by specialists in New York.
“It was a shock to the system. I had five other kids at home, and we needed to be at the hospital for a week at a time. How in the world were we going to live in Iowa and treat Malcolm in New York?” Samara recalled.
Thankfully the very next month, their family found The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) and had a partner to help with their numerous trips to New York for treatment.
The tremendous travel expenses associated with Malcolm’s treatment were less of a burden because of the NCCS’ help. His family is grateful for the many supporters who give to the NCCS. Angie, their NCCS case manager, was a miracle worker who coordinated flights, lodging, meals, fuel and cab fare when Malcolm was in New York for treatment. Angie would go the extra mile to also find affordable flights so one of Malcolm’s siblings could visit him in New York. That meant the world to Malcolm.
Malcolm and his medical team were fighting cancer best they could, but hope was beginning to run out. Todd and Samara were heartbroken to learn that the goal of his treatment was no longer to save Malcolm’s life, but to prolong it.
Todd and Samara braced themselves for the worst and expected to be sent home with hospice information following his experimental treatment. But in the biggest miracle of all, the doctor smiled and said he couldn’t believe it was the same child’s scan. The very painful therapy had finally worked to treat Malcolm’s aggressive cancer.
“Malcolm is the best case scenario of a worst case scenario. He still has to take a lot of medication and we have a lot of “ologists”, but he is happy. He is understanding he can still do stuff! He recently went to a camp for cancer survivors and went horseback riding and swimming. He loves trains and playing board games. Because of his experience, he is also very good at caring and comforting others,” Samara shared.
Now 10 years old, Malcolm has found a love for writing too. Two years ago he wrote an homage to a Jared, a phlebotomist who managed to successfully place his IV after many failed attempts. His book titled “Jared the Blood Genie” was loved by many, Jared especially. Now, he’s working on a larger project, a script called “Super Malcolm Fights Cancer”. With characters like Radiation Gorilla at his side, the story is sure to have a triumphant ending.