Fourth and Gold highlights a cancer warrior that has bravely and fiercely stood strong against childhood cancer. At Fourth and Gold, we want you to see the faces behind our drive and connect with them in a way you wouldn’t have been able to if you didn’t take the stand to demand #MoreThan4. Our precious kids have cancer, but cancer does not have them.
Reece Kolar, diagnosed with medulloblastoma*, at 6 years old
Current Age: 7 (DOB 3/9/12)
Favorite things: Reece is a superhero, so it would make sense that one of his favorite things are superheros! Reece also loves legos and playing video games.
Favorite foods: If it could be taco Tuesday everyday, Reece would be your go to. He loves cheese tacos and queso!
If you know Reece, you know that: He is super loving and caring for all kids, but especially his buddies going through treatment with him. He is the joy giver and can’t wait to make other kiddos happy when they all go through this journey. (We think Reece is wise beyond his years with his contagious attitude towards fighting this ugly disease).
Typical day looks like: Like other 7 year olds, Reece attends school during the week (if his immune system is high enough!) Reece suffered from posterior fossa syndrome* and didn’t talk for 3 weeks following surgery and didn’t walk on his own for 6 weeks. Therefore a normal part of his routine is to attend physical therapy to continue working on his strength.
Typical clinic / hospital day: A typical clinic day for Reece starts with his port being accessed which includes inserting a needle into a port under his skin to obtain blood for labs or give him any IV medication or transfusion that’s needed. Even after a year, the port access is the least favorite process and is truly awful. There’s a lot of waiting on clinic days, if the labs show his counts are high enough, chemo is administered, if not, transfusions are typically given. On the days Reece gets admitted into the hospital for treatment, there is a lot of waiting. There is waiting for a bed, waiting for his urine to “clear” (meet specific pH and spec gravity parameters to safely administer chemo) and waiting for transportation. While Reece is having to be patient and wait, time passes by building legos and “Netflix and chill”
What you can’t see here is that Reece has undergone:
- Surgeries for central line placement
- Craniotomy with tumor resection, resulting in posterior fossa syndrome*
- Multiple chemotherapy infusions
- Countless blood draws
- Taking multiple medications
- Hair loss
- Clinic appointments
- Missing out on getting to live a non-medical 6-7 year old life
Reece’s Mom Rachel, on the hardest part about having a child with cancer: “Watching your child endure painful procedures, being sick from treatment and trying to explain this is making them better”
What do you wish people knew about childhood cancer: “1. There are no “good types” of childhood cancer, all cancer stinks!! Also two children with the exact same diagnosis can be treated with two different protocols. There isn’t a universal standard. All children are different . 2, There is hope, there is support. No one travels this road alone. From parents going through similar situations, to all the support groups available, from financial to emotional support.”
How has childhood cancer impacted your lives the most: “Everyday is a blessing. Don’t take any part of life for granted. Everyday is a gift from god. Spread joy to others EVERYDAY!”
I often say it, but I promise I mean it, kids who get diagnosed with cancer and their families are the most inspiring people I know. Reece is not alone in his cancer diagnosis, not even close. Medulloblastoma accounts for 15 to 20 percent of all pediatric brain tumors occur most commonly in children between ages of 3 and 8. Brain tumors are the second most common cancer in children and account for approximately 1 out of 4 childhood cancer diagnosis (American Cancer Society).
Unlike adult cancers who receive 96% of all research funding, childhood cancer research receives a measly 3.8%. WHY? Because it is considered “RARE”yet 43 children per day or 15,780 children per year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer and since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer (National Pediatric Cancer Foundation)
How can YOU help close this gap between pharmaceutical companies and childhood cancer research? (Thank you for asking 😉 )
Want to do your part, but look good while doing it? These companies give to childhood cancer research based off a percentage of their profit:
Fourth and Gold -> Donates 100% of profit in September, 50% all other months and donates a warrior shirt to a child with cancer with every purchase made
Love Your Melon -> Donates 50% of profit and donates a LYM beanie to a child with cancer with every beanie sold
Head Bands of Hope -> Donates 10% of profit and donates a headband to a child with cancer with every headband sold
I ask that if you were touched by this interview with Reece and his family that you consider helping us close the gap. Any amount of money that you are able to donate to a childhood cancer research foundation is not too little. These foundations work endlessly to fund and find a humane cure for childhood cancer. Let’s help them by skipping our extra coffee or lunch out this week. Start a movement! If you donate, let us know!
*Medulloblastoma: “A brain tumor located in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance, coordination, and other complex motor functions. Medulloblastomas grow most often in the central part of the cerebellum, and less frequently in the outer parts of the cerebellum” (Boston Children’s).
*Posterior Fossa Syndrome: “This syndrome involves a variety of signs and symptoms including mutism or speech disturbances, dysphagia, decreased motor movement, cranial nerve palsies and, emotional lability. These signs and symptoms develop from an average range of 24 to 107 hours after surgery and may take weeks to months to resolve. The exact etiology of the syndrome is unknown” (National Institute of Health)