In May of 2016, Frankie had a seizure at school. It was the first and only seizure he had ever had. A brain scan later revealed an acute mass in the middle of his brain. Initially, doctors and Frankie’s family were confident it was a benign tumor. But following surgery to remove the mass, Frankie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer that typically has a 50 percent survival rate.
Frankie, at the age of 3, went from being a normal kid who loved adventurous playtime and chatting with his parents to a cancer patient who required severe chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants.
“He was a rock star through the whole thing,” said Frankie’s mom, Kate. “He didn’t act sick. He never needed a feeding tube. We stayed very positive and got lots of support from our family.” Today, Frankie is more than two years cancer-free.
Frankie loves outdoor adventures. In talking to him about what kind of place he most wanted to explore, Frankie was fixated on the idea of visiting a snowy place where he could go sledding, make snowballs and explore the mountains.
And according to Kate, having his family next to him through treatment really helped Frankie. After all they went through together, his wish was something that really helped them. Although Frankie was in remission by the time his wish was granted, “we all still struggle a little bit. We can never relax. Even the treatment Frankie received may cause cancer,” Kate said. “We have to be on our toes for the rest of our lives, and we are still accepting that.”
Yet during his wish to see snow at Lake Tahoe, “we really relaxed. It was great to get away from all the reminders of what we went through. It was good to take a break from juggling it all,” Kate said. “His wish was perfect for him – a simple vacation to make some new memories that were positive. He just loves being with us.”