Boy struggling with cancer may leave hospital
After a nearly two-month relapse, a Carson City 2-year-old boy embraced by the South Lake Tahoe community during his struggle with cancer is expected leave a San Francisco hospital Friday.
A benefit dinner will be held that night at the South Lake Tahoe Elks Lodge to raise funds for mounting medical bills accrued by Bailey Johnson’s parents, Ron and Kelly Johnson.
Bailey, the grandson of Skyland residents Tim and Christy Smith, was diagnosed with the most advanced level of neuroblastoma cancer almost three years ago. Tumors were found in his eye, shin, chest, skull, liver and bone marrow.
Last year at this time, it appeared Bailey was in full recovery. But a routine checkup in April showed evidence of tumors in his chest and abdomen, and he ended up returning to the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. He underwent extensive chemotherapy and had a bone marrow transplant.
Following aggressive therapy treatments, Bailey eats food and drinks water without the use of intravenous fluids. Still, he’s not out of the woods, his father said from the boy’s hospital room.
Blood transfusions are required every other day, and radiation treatment will begin soon, Ron said. No tests have been taken to evaluate whether he’s in remission or not.
When radiation ends, Ron plans to go back to work for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District in Incline Village. Kelly will stay behind with Bailey and baby brother Cameron in the Bay area apartment the couple is renting until doctors are confident the boy can return home.
Ron said he’s encouraged it appears his son may leave the hospital if his condition remains steady.
“There’s a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Even when Bailey’s ready to come home, he’ll be isolated and required to wear a mask to go outside for a full year. Going into busy public places like restaurants, supermarkets or movie theaters puts him at risk of getting sicker because his immune system has lessened.
“Even a common cold can be detrimental to his health,” his father said.
Ron said he and his wife are holding up considering they’ve covered this ground before in their son’s fight with the disease.
Those wishing to help Bailey and his family may donate to the Bailey Johnson Cancer Fund established through the Colonial Bank on Kingsbury Grade. Track his progress at http://www.caringbridge.com/nv/baileyaustinjohnson.
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