To whom it may concern:
My name is Jamie Brigham. My husband, Chris, and I have a little boy named Walker. On July 24, 2003, Walker started running a fever and that weekend he began to limp. I visited my sister that weekend in Columbia and her neighbor is an orthopedic surgeon and he observed him outside playing and said he was limping and to take him to a doctor the following Monday if it continued. He was no longer limping on Monday but I took him just to make sure because he had a fever over 101 that Sunday. They did blood work and said it must be a virus. When I picked him up from daycare August 5, 2003, on the way home he told me his leg hurt. On Thursday the 6th they called me at work around 3:00 PM to pick him up because he was cranky and asking for his mom. I took him to the doctor that day and they checked his hip alignment and said everything looked good and it must be a virus. I took him to daycare on Friday the 8th and they called me at 10:30 am and said he could not get up off the floor. I left work, picked him up, and took him to the doctor. They did blood work, which indicated that his SED rate was high and that there was inflammation in his body. The doctor said it was a virus, transient synovitis. On Saturday, August 9th, he was in so much pain that I called the doctor on call and he told me to take him to the pediatric floor. Walker was admitted they still said it was a virus. The orthopedic surgeon tapped his hip on Monday to check for infection and the test came back negative. I took Walker to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Columbia the following Thursday and he said it was a virus. Walker's primary physician called to check on him after he returned from being out of town. We told him Walker was having problems getting up off the floor. He told us to bring him in to do the blood work just to make sure nothing had changed. The blood work indicated that his SED rate was still elevated and his hemoglobin had dropped. He sent us to MUSC, in Charleston that same day. At MUSC we saw a pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, rheumatologist, and an oncologist. We were there from August 29 to September 1, Walker's birthday. They did blood work and x-rays. They let us go home for Walker's birthday and had us return on September 5, 2003 and they did a CT scan and bone marrow aspiration. Walker turned two on September 1, 2003 and on September 5th, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. Of the less than 1000 cases diagnosed annually, most are under the age of five. Statistics have shown historically that only 30% of the children diagnosed with this disease at Walker's age actually survive it.
Obviously, we were devastated by this news. Walker began chemotherapy on September 10th, and we are adjusting to a life organized around fighting for his. God has been so good to us during this ordeal. He has given us incredible peace in the midst of it all. The support of our friends and family has been overwhelming.
Because Walker is frequently in and out of the hospital and cannot be in a daycare while undergoing chemotherapy, I had to resign from my position. Caring for him is now my full-time job. Walker is currently receiving treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina. My husband and father flew to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY, September 28 to meet with Dr. Kushner and his team to discuss Walker's illness. After research, he was found to be the best doctor for treating neuroblastoma. After their meeting, we possibly might have to go to NY for his treatment.
Without substantial financial support, we will likely have to sell our house even before construction is completed. We have been living with my parents to save money since 2 months before construction began, and we can continue to do so, if necessary. However, we desperately want our own home for our family and for Walker. If you can help us with this, we will be eternally grateful. Thank you for hearing our story. Please pray for Walker and our family and tell everyone you know to pray. We know that God is in control and performs miracles everyday!