The baby pulled himself up from a sitting position and then to a wobbly
stand. Corban’s legs were chubby except where the surgical scar ripped
across his right thigh. He smiled as he stood with his father in their
Target House kitchen, but his eyes were locked on the living room, where
his mom sat.
The baby pulled himself up from a sitting position and then to a wobbly stand. Corban’s legs were chubby except where the surgical scar ripped across his right thigh. He smiled as he stood with his father in their Target House kitchen, but his eyes were locked on the living room, where his mom sat.
“Corban looked determined,” remembered his mom, Jessica.
For several months from September 2011 to February 2013, this apartment at Target House was the home-away-from-home of Corban’s family as the little boy underwent treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for an alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
St. Jude offered a chemotherapy drug that wouldn’t have been available at most other hospitals, as well as a type of radiation therapy that could fight the cancer while protecting Corban’s growth plates and healthy cells from damage. St. Jude invents more clinical trials than any other children’s hospital, which is why the world looks to St. Jude for new and better ways to treat childhood cancer.
“You go to St. Jude, and it’s inspiring,” said Jessica. “It’s so bright and colorful. And the hospital’s interdisciplinary approach should be a model for the rest of the world.”
But 13 weeks into Corban’s treatment, tests revealed terrible news. “The tumor is still alive,” their doctor told them. “It’s 95 percent viable, and the chemo is not working.”
As devastating as this news was, St. Jude had a plan.
“They fight for your child’s life,” said Jessica. “All the normal stuff wasn’t working, but they were willing to try.”
Corban began a new treatment of surgery to remove the tumor, focal radiation therapy and 50 weeks of chemotherapy.
The tumor and the resulting surgery stripped the leg of 80 percent of its ham string muscle. St. Jude physical therapists worked to build his strength and balance, but it was anyone’s guess how this loss of muscle would affect his long-term development.
“He was doing the same conditioning as professional football players,” said Jessica. “There was a massive amount taken from his leg. He found his new normal and went with it.”
By December 2011, Corban was testing his limits.
“The staff at Target House came in and baby-proofed all the cabinets in the kitchen and the ones in the living room because Corban had gotten to the point where he was getting into everything,” said Jessica.
In late December 2011, Corban was at his father’s side and took his first step, “like it was nothing,” said Jessica.
“Then he went back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, I’d say about 15 times,” said Jessica.
Corban completed treatment in February 2013. He is cancer free. He spends most of his time outside, chasing after his older brother.
“Usually the times you see him, he’s full speed ahead,” said Jessica.