Hometown: Smithville, MO
Type of cancer: acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Diagnosed: February 2009
Hospital(s): Children’s Mercy Hospital, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, MO
Siblings: Troy Elliott
Pets: Truman (dog), Cooper & Minnie (cats), Piglet & Spud (guiena pigs)
Who is/was your hero?: The staff at Children’s Mercy Hematology/Oncology Dept. & Child Life Services
Travis was diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL) on 2/27/09, his 12th birthday. He was our sports star, playing competitive baseball to tackle football to basketball yr. round. Travis hadn’t missed a day of school in 2 years and hadn’t been to the doctor with an illness in a year. So, when he said his thumb/wrist was hurting we didn’t give it much thought but eventually took him to have it X-rayed. With no fracture, he was put in a splint for 2 weeks then went back to playing basketball. One day he came home running a fever and had the same thumb/wrist ailment in the opposite limb. We took him to our Pediatrician, Ermalyn Kubart, who thought his ailments seemed strange. She ran a blood test only to find his white blood count very low. Nothing too concerning – yet. His 2nd blood test ruled out any viral or bacterial links. She then mentioned Leukemia and sent us to CMH for a bone marrow test with Dr. Gerald Woods who came highly recommended by Dr. Kubart who had done her residency at CMH. By this time, Travis’ pain had moved to his feet, he could barely walk. From basketball to a wheelchair only took 30 days. Dr. Woods gave us the devastating news on Travis’ birthday. We didn’t want it to work out that way but it did. Dr. Woods set our goal on that day – hit Travis hard with treatment now so that we can get him back in school in the fall. Travis was admitted the very next day. Dr. Maxine “Max” Hetherington took over Travis’ care. What a lady – the first time we met her she wore “bug” earrings and a rubber duck necklace that was also used to blow bubbles. Her focus – Travis. When she spoke it was to him, not us the parents but always made sure all of our questions were answered. We met our nurse practitioner, Kristi Gordon. Kristi has been one of our lifesavers. She and I have a special way of communicating – through our Blackberry’s. When something is wrong with your child, as a parent you want it “fixed” quick. I know I can get that help quick by emailing Kristi, even on her day off. That is going over and above as a caregiver. In addition, I can’t brag enough about the Hemoc Child Life Services. They 100% make sure Travis and the other cancer kids have what they need to keep their minds occupied. Travis’ nurse, Terry Lady, is like family to us now. The Smithville School District and outstanding teachers, like Vicki Maynes (Travis’ homebound teacher), have been tremendously supportive. We are blessed to have Travis in remission. He has been back in school since Aug. 2010 and has only missed a couple of days due to chemo and spinal taps here and there. He will complete his chemo treatments on July 16, 2012. It will be a day of great celebration for our family.
Parents: to make changes to your child’s story, please e-mail us.