We start today tucked between the mountains in Cumberland shrouded in a blanket of clouds and hoping to avoid the rainy forecast. That is rather symbolic for my buddy Jaidan Richardson who’s first cancer diagnosis was as a toddler when he was 18 months old. It was a scary road for his family, but let me cut to the chase… he has been cancer free for 3 years. Still not completely out of the woods, but like the weather today, we hope it is out of his way too.
Today, we hike and bike our most challenging day topographically speaking. The mountains are steep and frequent, so the 27 mile hike is one thing, the 14 mile biking over Sideling Hill is what I remember as the most difficult. But I did it last year, and we will do it today to show Jaidan we understand his challenge and want him to beat his as well. Track us live and please keep sending all of your good vibes and support. We aim to be out by 9 AM and finish around 5PM. Typical work day.
This photo of us was at an Orioles game recently. He is just a normal kid who wants deserves to have a normal life playing ball and just being happy. Please read more of his story and my personal story below.
Day 2 – Jaidan Richardson
11 years old
Type of Cancer: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Lives in Baltimore, MD
Fevers come with the territory when raising a toddler. The thermometer goes up when the body reacts to illnesses, both minor and major. A fever is not a disease but a sign of illness. In the case of 18-month old Jaidan Richardson, a persistent fever was pointing to something serious.
Jaidan’s mom, Baltimore resident Ericka Richardson, had grown increasingly concerned over frequent ear infections and a stubborn fever that Jaidan contracted. The family’s primary care physician referred the mother and son to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital where blood tests revealed that this was something very serious. Jaidan had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. “We were in total shock by his diagnosis,” recalls his mom. “At first, you’re thinking it might be anemia or a virus. You never think cancer.”
Jaidan is now 11-years-old and has been cancer free for 3 years. As with most types of cancer, the road to remission is long with frequent trips to the hospital and some unexpected turns.
Some symptoms of ALL include fever, easy bruising, and joint or bone pain. “It was Jaidan’s unexplained fever and ear infections that brought us to the hospital. But we later learned that Jaidan’s reluctance to walk was because of his leukemia. It caused him to have pain in his legs.”
Jaidan completed two and a half years of chemotherapy and went into remission. A year later during a routine follow-up appointment, it was discovered that his leukemia had returned to his bone marrow and spinal fluid.
Jaidan would have an additional two years of therapy consisting of a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. During his therapy, he battled two serious septic blood infections, and ultimately had to end his treatment early because it was too toxic. Despite not finishing the therapy, Jaidan recovered and today is in year three of remission.
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