HomeTop StoriesFour-year-old battles rare cancer

Four-year-old battles rare cancer

May 18 – Paige Williams saw her future in providing care to the sick. After graduating from Huntsville High School in 2017, Williams was set to study nursing at Lone Star College, with plans to transfer to Sam Houston State University to complete her degree.

That all came to a head when the news came that no parent wants to hear: her only son had cancer.

Just over a year ago, the then three-year-old Malachi was observed breathing more shallowly than normal. His mother, who described herself as a worrier, immediately took him to Texas Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands for evaluation.

“They missed it the first few times,” Williams said. “But eventually we demanded a cat scan which showed Malachi’s heart was on his right side, his lung had collapsed and instead a tumor on his left side,” Williams said.

The family would receive a crash course in Pleuropulmonary Blastoom (PPB). According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, PPB, “It is a rare cancer in children that occurs in the chest, specifically in the lungs or in the coverings of the lungs called “pleura.”

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Research shows that only 25 to 50 cases of PPB are diagnosed each year in the United States. According to Williams, Malachi has Type II. “Type II is when they have both hard and soft tumors,” Williams said.

Malachi is currently being treated at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. In the recent past, Malachi underwent an intensive eight-week chemotherapy regimen. “The doctors say without chemo his tumors would double in size in eight days,” Williams said. “If we can’t stop the tumors from growing, they say we can’t go ahead with surgery to remove the tumor,” Williams said. Williams says Malachi is expected to have only six to eight weeks without chemotherapy and surgery.

Complicating matters is the fact that Williams’ husband, James, was excluded from his insurance after taking too much personal time from work.

“Despite everything that challenges us, Malachi gives us hope,” said James Williams. “He’s fighting something that I know some adults can’t handle,” James said.

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James, a former Marine and now a conductor at BNSF Railway, is working to recover his benefits while still figuring out how to stay with his son.

The Williams announce the work of current physician Dr. Valeria Smith for her tireless efforts to find an answer.

“Malachi was energetic, loved the outdoors and especially rocking,” Paige said. “We would never have had any idea what was growing inside him,” Paige said.

James says Malachi remains positive and is responding decently to the latest form of chemotherapy Malachi had: ice chemotherapy.

“For four days he took this more intense form of chemo, and it appears he is responding with fewer side effects for now,” Paige said.

“We will have results within three weeks following the success of these latest tests,” James said.

The Williams credit the power of prayer, the presence of family and the organizing power of their friends with helping them stay strong. LaTeel Richardson has used GoFundMe to raise money for Malachi’s family. At printing, approximately $8,500 had been raised of a $30,000 goal.

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The Williams urge parents to be vigilant, especially when it comes to their children’s breathing. “If we had ignored it, it could have been a lot worse,” Paige said.

To contribute to the GoFundMe set up for Malachi, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/malachi-battles-cancer-again.

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