ST. LOUIS – It's almost time for the annual Light the Night Walk. Thousands have committed to walk and bring light to the darkness of cancer.
The Menner family from Imperial plans to walk. Danielle Menner says her son's diagnosis five years ago was devastating. Today, the picture is much different.
Danielle says her son, Jaxon, is just days away from his eighth birthday. And it's going to be a celebration.
“I’m going to go to Dave and Buster's. I like to play the games there and I’m going with some of my friends,” Jaxon said.
Jaxon's leukemia is in remission for the second time. He was first diagnosed in 2013. The news was heartbreaking for his family.
"It was devastating. No parent wants to hear that. He went through three and a half years of treatment with chemo and steroids and other medicines,” Danielle said.
By 2016, the cancer was gone. Then in April of this year, the cancer returned. That's when doctors introduced the family to Car T Cell Immunotherapy.
“They take his own T cells. Then they programmed his cells. They put a protein in them and he had them infused back in July. They seek and destroy any abnormal cells in the body,” Danielle said.
It is this therapy that has Jaxon celebrating his second journey to remission. In 2017 the Food and Drug Administration approved 18 therapies to treat patients with blood cancers. New advancements such as these rely on generous supporters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. During its 2018 Light the Night Walk, Jaxon will serve as one of two honored heroes. And he’ll walk cancer free.
“He has zero percent leukemia cells. He had a bone marrow biopsy just about a month ago and it shows that the leukemia is gone and the T Cells are working,” Danielle said.
Jaxon, is working to help others. Instead of accepting gifts for his birthday, he's collecting toys for Children's Hospital. Toys are given to each child after a therapy session and birthdays. Something to boost their spirits. Jaxon wants to make sure they never run out.
“He is my gentle giant. He is always thinking of others. He’s sweet, kind, he’s outgoing, he loves baseball. Loves his family and his sister,” Danielle said.
You are invited to support this evening of hope with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The annual Light the Night Walk is Saturday Sept. 29th at Cricket Field in Forest Park. For more information click the link http://www.LighttheNight.org/gateway
Registration begins at 5 p.m.
Walk begins at 7:30 p.m.
Fireworks Finale (approximately 8:45 pm)