On August 20th, 2013, 11 month old Grayson was diagnosed with Infant T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In the days following Grayson’s diagnosis, the Irwin’s found out the treatment plan was going to be a long 2 years of chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial study. Due to Grayson’s high risk status, this was the only option. The first 6 months was the most aggressive treatment plan with the chemotherapy levels administered being nearly four times the normal doses to attack his aggressive cancer. Following the initial phases, the hospitalizations and amounts of chemo administered would taper off as long as Grayson was responding well. It was a long road to recovery and the Irwin’s motto was nothing short of inspiring, “By Faith, Tough as Nails.” In August of 2015, Grayson was able to ring the bell–declaring he was cancer free!
From a 10% chance of survival to a flourishing 4 year old, Grayson celebrated his One Year Cancer free on August 21, 2016! Today, Grayson is thriving in his new VPK Class and continues to be in remission.
The Irwin’s are so humbled at the support, love, and encouragement that was given to them during their journey with childhood cancer. Thank you seems so inadequate especially in regards to the amount of prayer and financial contributions that literally kept the family on their feet. They are grateful for each day with their son and truly grasp what life is all about. During their journey, they saw a need in the Tallahassee community to start a foundation that cares for families that have a child with a chronic, life-altering, or special need. Janelle serves as the President and Co-Founder of the Hang Tough Foundation that was established February 2015 and currently serves of 100 families. (www.hangtoughfoundation.org) Often times, dark circumstances can shed light on great opportunities.
Although the Irwin’s will quickly and often direct people to donate to the Hang Tough Foundation, there are, however, several outstanding medical bill accounts for hospital stays, ER visits, routine lab work that is still done monthly, as well as a couple hefty ambulance rides from Tallahassee to Gainesville. Bills still linger and still arrive in the mail often. Grayson is worth every penny and the Irwin’s plan to whittle away at the medical debt, but contributions are always appreciated.
Just because the cancer is gone (which we are all SO grateful for!), doesn’t mean everything is behind them. Most importantly, please continue to lift Grayson in your prayers. Specifically for no signs of relapse (his cancer is one of the more likely to occur) and no late effects from chemotherapy/clinical trial that could appear years down the road.
Thank you for your consistent love and support! The Irwin family and extended family is forever grateful for each of you!