Albemarle Co. Family Spreads Awareness of Rare Disease After 4-Year-Old Son is Diagnosed
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - After their son was diagnosed with stage four cancer at the University of Virginia Medical Center, an Albemarle County family is hoping to spread awareness of the rare disease.
The Ballard’s life was turned upside down two weeks ago when their youngest son, Evan, was diagnosed with nephroblastoma, a rare form of kidney cancer that affects less than 600 children nationwide every year.
"Basically there were no warning signs at all,” said Roy, Evan’s father.
Molly and Roy’s four-year-old son Evan started complaining of pain in his side the night of July 31 so they went to the emergency room at University of Virginia Medical Center. Evan, who had no signs of poor health, received a life-changing diagnosis.
"We found out early in the morning of August 1st that Evan had a stage four Wilms tumors on his right kidney, and that it had to be removed really quickly,” said Molly, Evan’s mom.
The Ballard’s had never heard of Wilms tumors (nephroblastoma) before, and according to the American Cancer Society, there are only around 500 cases across the United States each year.
"They say that his tumor was the size of a large grapefruit, or a small cantaloupe, and so like for that to have been in his body and that not be something that is apparent to us is something that's really really scary,” said Roy.
Molly was set to start teaching third grade at Baker-Butler Elementary School next week, but now the family is being sent to Boston’s Children Hospital so Evan can be treated.
"There’s just this open-ended amount of travel to where we just don't even know if it's one, two or three trips to Boston,” said Roy.
Now the Ballard’s are keeping high spirits as they prepare for Evan to receive chemotherapy and radiation treatment to combat cancer that spread to his lungs and his lymph nodes
"They always say kids are resilient and bounce back and we're seeing that. I would say he's exceeding our expectations in just his recovery from surgery and that gives us hope for his journey that he has ahead,” said Molly.