Meet our young warriors

Meet Lance – Lymphoma Warrior

meet lance

Lawrence and Darla share, “We are so thankful for this organization and especially during this time of need as Lance goes back and forth for treatment.”

Playing basketball and staying as healthy as possible were incredibly important to 17-year-old Lance. As he entered his senior year, he couldn’t wait to participate in senior class activities, visit college campuses, and further his basketball career.

When he woke up one morning with a swollen neck, his mother, Darla, and father, Lawrence, were very worried and rushed him to the nearest urgent care. The thoughts running through their head consumed them while they waited to be seen. They wanted answers and were eager to know what was going on to make their son’s neck swell. When the team at urgent care told Lance and his parents that he needed to be seen at their local children’s hospital, they knew it was something very serious.

Thoughts and questions raced through their minds. There was no way for them to anticipate the situation when they arrived at the children’s hospital. After being seen, Lance was given antibiotics in hopes that whatever was causing the swelling in his neck would resolve within two weeks. When he showed no signs of improvement, his parents contacted their pediatrician. His pediatrician ran a battery of tests and quickly realized what was happening. Lance was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that causes swelling in the lymph nodes. Their hearts dropped, thoughts spiraled, and their entire future became unknown.

Lance’s diagnosis changed everything for him. Most seniors in high school dream of touring colleges, planning a career, playing the sport they have played their whole life, and joining the rest of their class to enjoy their last year of school together. His passion was ripped away from him, and he had no idea if he would even be able to attend college as he originally planned. Darla felt defeated. She looked forward to watching her son enjoy his senior year with friends and playing basketball.

“It was like a ton of bricks had fallen upon us. We were not only concerned about his physical health but his mental state as well,” Darla said.

Lance had to start chemotherapy treatment right away. While he was determined to not let his diagnosis change him, he knew starting treatment would mean he would not be able to participate in all of the senior activities with the rest of his class. Unfortunately, the closest treatment center was 100 miles away from his home. They were unsure of how they would keep up with the rest of their financial obligations. Thankfully, they were able to find The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) and receive help through our Transportation Assistance Fund.

“With fuel prices going up, it was becoming quite costly. We reached out to the NCCS for assistance and they were quick to respond. They provided us with funds for travel,” Lawrence shared.

Getting your child to lifesaving treatment is a priority with any childhood cancer diagnosis. Darla took a leave of absence from work so she could be there every step of the way with Lance. Lawrence continued working to support their family, but still visited Lance as much as he could. Darla and Lawrence felt a sense of relief knowing that they had support financially.

As tough as this journey has been for Darla and Lawrence, it has been even more difficult for Lance knowing the weight his parents are carrying on their shoulders. His plans changed, he was unsure what his future held, and he was devastated that he could not enjoy his senior year as he planned to. Since his chemotherapy was physically and mentally draining, Lance missed numerous days of school. However, during the weeks when he felt strong, he made sure to attend because he didn’t want any more days taken away from him.

The financial and emotional support that the NCCS provided to Lance’s family has reassured them that they are not alone in their fight. Our free publication, The Other Side of the Mountain: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving Childhood Cancer, helped Lawrence and Darla through this difficult and emotional rollercoaster. Lance was also able to receive additional support through this challenging transition. Since he was diagnosed at the age of 17, their case manager provided him with our free publication, The View From Up Here: Your Guide to Surviving Childhood Cancer. Prior to his diagnosis, he was enthusiastic about attending college. To help prepare him for any hurdles he may face when applying to and attending college, we also provided our brochure, Making the Right Transition Into College.

While Lance is still being seen twice a month, he continues to be passionate about his future and what lies ahead for him.

Lawrence and Darla share, “We are so thankful for this organization and especially during this time of need as Lance goes back and forth for treatment.”