Today, in my daily letter, I want to tell you about one of my heroes. His name is Braden Hofen and he is six years old. Over three years ago, on Halloween night, Braden’s mom and dad took him to the hospital. Although he was ready for Trick-or-Treating, dressed as Woody along with his brother, Zach, as Buzz, he was crying and didn’t feel well. His parents thought the problem might be his asthma. After a chest X-ray revealed a small gray shadow, the medical staff sent Braden home the next day, with iron drops. They believed Braden’s problem was an enlarged liver due to a virus and lack of iron. His parents were vigilant in following up on his problems with doctors, yet they faced doubt with their calls and questions– until they returned to the ER in December. The new X-ray revealed a mass that was pushing Braden’s small organs. The mass was stage 4 neuroblastoma. Doctors missed Braden’s diagnosis in October—this meant Braden’s cancer secretly advanced. The Hofens do not blame doctors for this.
Want to hear something that will give you chills?
That same Halloween, my mom took me to a specialist (after months of doctor visits to search for what was wrong with me) who examined me and told us I did not have cancer. After “vigilant follow-up,” like the Hofens, my cancer was discovered a couple months later– the same December as Braden’s.
This story of missed diagnosis repeats itself over and over.
We need awareness.
We need funding for research
We need less-toxic, targeted therapies that cure without leaving life-long devastating effects
My six –year old buddy, Braden, has inspired thousands of people to join together to speak for children with cancer and work for change. How can we, when we see this sweet boy just wanting to be a boy, not do all we can to see that he and others have HOPE?
Braden is fighting for his life.
Please help open the floodgates of care and compassion by doing a show on childhood cancer.
16 Year-old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery