In September 1999, Joe Sanford was diagnosed with a malignant form of a brain cancer called a Medulloblastoma. Specifically, Medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor in which the cancer (malignant) cells begin to grow in the lower part of the brain (and sometimes spine) and usually found only in children or young adults. Other than leukemia or lymphoma, brain tumors are the most common type of cancer that occurs in children.
Joe immediately underwent surgery and they removed approximately 95% of the tumor. He then went through 6 weeks of radiation therapy in order to kill the remaining 5% and the radiation was followed by one year of chemotherapy treatments. The surgery left Joe with some minor paralysis on his left side. With much courage, perseverance, faith, and support from friends and family, Joe came through the treatments with flying colors.
Joe worked hard to keep up his schoolwork and advanced with his class for both the 2nd and 3rd grades despite numerous stays in the hospital and treatment related illnesses that kept him homebound. With the help of wonderful Physical and Occupational Therapists, along with terrific Coaches, he even continued to play baseball, basketball, and soccer through it all. He seemed to be doing remarkably well.
In October 2001, Joe had his regularly scheduled routine MRI and the results shockingly showed a new appearance of the cancer called a recurring metastasis medulloblastoma which appeared in a different location in the brain. (We created a journal that chronicles the last several months of Joe's inspirational life and you can read it here under "Joe's Story".)
On June 19, 2002, Joe, earned his angels wings and peacefully passed away, surrounded by his family and close friends. We love and miss you Joe!
The following are Journal Entry updates of his incredible journey - Joe's Story.