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Fred Hood

Jackson, MS | High-risk T-Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

On Aug. 19, 2013, Anne and Todd Hood noticed a rash on their 2-year-old son, Fred. Though he was playing and seemed healthy, Anne was concerned.

A nurse at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, she took a closer look.

“I noticed that this was not a regular rash,” she said. The discoloration of Fred’s skin was petechiae, tiny red spots on the skin caused by bleeding under the skin. “I was assessing him from head to toe.  His lymph nodes were swollen, and his stomach was bigger than normal. He wasn’t vomiting, though, and he didn’t have a fever. He was even running around.”

While their children slept, the couple searched the internet for petechial. “I was really praying that nothing was wrong with our son.”

A visit to their pediatrician the next day was listed as a “wellness” visit since Fred wasn’t coughing or feverish, Anne said.

Fred’s doctor shared the family’s concern and ordered a blood test.

“We were waiting for the blood test results for two hours,” Anne said. “They had to do another test because the machine couldn’t read his white blood cell count because it was so high.”

A normal white blood cell count is about 5,000 to 10,000, but Fred’s was 165,000. “His blood was 98 percent cancer,” she said.

Fred was diagnosed with leukemia and sent to Batson Children’s Hospital. “His treatment lasted three years, eight months and four days,” Anne said. “The first year of his treatment was really intense, so he couldn’t go outside and had to wear a mask.”

During his cancer battle, Fred had eight rounds of radiation, 21 lumbar punctures and 21 surgeries in his mouth because of abscesses caused by chemotherapy, but today he is in remission. Fred is now a home-schooled third-grader who enjoys playing the piano and taking taekwondo lessons, Anne said.

“By the grace of God, today he is fine, and we are grateful and thankful!”

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