Lubbock 5-year-old rings bell after nearly four year cancer battle

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 11:28 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock family is celebrating after a nearly four year long journey. Calvin Deforde was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells, at two and a half years old.

“He just started off just getting sick and just could not get better. And so, his pediatrician called me while I was at work and said he needs to go to the ER and that’s kind of where it all started,” Calvin’s mom, Emily Deforde said.

While most kids spend their time at school or on the playground, for much of Calvin’s life, he’s been undergoing treatment at Covenant Children’s. Emily says it’s been a long journey.

“Coming to the clinic all the time, and he had moments where he had to come up here four days in a row and still have intensive chemo go into his system. And just thinking when is this going to end? When is the finish?” Emily said.

After nearly four years of ups and downs, that finish line was getting closer and closer. Wednesday at Covenant, he walked through the family, doctors and nurses who’ve been by his side all along the way. Calvin completed his chemotherapy, ringing the bell as a “cancer grad.”

“Just knowing that he is done and it’s been a long three and a half years, but he’s well, and we’re very very thankful for that,” Emily said.

Emily says they’re looking forward to weeks without chemo and a focus on everyday life as his sixth birthday approaches.

“He’s already started school, so just make friends and then enjoy being a normal, not sick child anymore,” Emily said.

As part of his new journey, Emily is excited for her son to have more time to play and interact with others. She says Calvin loves learning and recently he’s been on a kick about Notre Dame and Big Ben. He loves to bring that imagination to life, with Legos. Now instead of just a distraction from treatments, that imagination gets to take the driver seat.

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