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Aiden’s story

Aiden putting a puzzle together on the living room floor

Toddlers are used to getting bumps and bruises. But when almost 3-year-old Aiden was recovering from a fractured knee cap, his family was surprised that it didn’t heal as quickly as they thought it would.

After Aiden had his cast removed, his parents, Jaime and Rob, were told their son would be walking within a few days. But after a few days, it was clear that something else was wrong when his ankle became swollen.

“We were referred to Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee where we met with an orthopedic specialist. After X-rays, scans and lab work, they found a mass in Aiden’s left ankle,” recalls Jaime. “On May 17, 2016, the doctor told us that our son had cancer.”

Aiden started treatment for ALL Leukemia in Milwaukee. After three-and-a-half weeks, he was transferred to HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, allowing this De Pere family to have their son treated close to home.

“We have two older children and had infant twins at the time of Aiden’s diagnosis,” said Jaime. “Once Aiden came to Green Bay, it helped our other children be able to see and visit him more often and see how he was doing. That was really good for them.”

Once at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, Aiden was in the care of Prevea Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist, Dr. Jon Brandt, who worked closely with Children’s Hospital to understand Aiden’s care. In addition, physical therapist, Julie Collison, helped Aiden learn to walk again.

“Aiden hadn’t walked since before he fractured his knee cap,” said Jaime. “After he got sick, he had been too weak to walk.”

Aiden’s second set of “first steps” came in October 2016. He hadn’t walked since March of that year.

“It was so emotional for me when he took his first steps… and for his physical therapist, Julie, too,” recalled Jaime. “Julie was amazing. She had been with us through this journey. Aiden is a strong-willed child, and once he figured out he could walk again, there was no stopping him.”

Today, 5-year-old Aiden receives maintenance treatment and is expected to be treatment-free August 2019.