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William Relyea

Following months of concern over obscure symptoms and misdiagnoses, William’s devastating diagnosis of Stage III Neuroblastoma was made in December 2009, when he was 6 months old. William had an inoperable 10cm tumor encapsulating nearly all the vital organs, blood vessels and nerves in his abdomen. He endured chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and then underwent an aggressive 9-hour tumor resection surgery. The surgery was successful in eradicating cancer; though it took an immeasurable toll on his young body.

Our family has celebrated William’s “No Evidence of Disease” status since February 2010! His tumor surgery proved to be the beginning of serious new challenges for William however, as he continues to face life-threatening complications from his cancer treatment. His body is now fully dependent on 24-hour IV nutrition, requiring him to carry a backpack nearly one-quarter his body weight throughout the day. William has battled through serious septic blood infections, endured multiple surgeries, countless hours under anesthesia, and continues to require frequent hospitalizations.

“I am often reminded how blessed I am to have Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital so close to home. It is a beautiful facility but there is no doubt in my mind that the doctors, nurses and other caregivers make this hospital what it is.”

Despite all this, William is a very active, fun-loving, and happy toddler. Through this journey, he has only impressed us with his resiliency and determination. William mastered the milestone of crawling and walking, all while carrying his own little backpack containing an IV pump and fluids. We are continually amazed at the things he has taught us – immense strength, courage, and enduring love.

An Important Update

William is a fun-loving, spirited preschooler who is captivated by animals and underwater exploration. He loves getting dirty in his garden, squeals with excitement for swinging really high, and enjoys exploring the village of Baldwinsville on his electric John Deere Gator.

The average person would never imagine that this 5-year-old is a cancer survivor. At 6 months old, William was diagnosed with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma. After undergoing chemotherapy and multiple surgeries as part of his cancer treatment, complications have damaged William’s GI tract. One may think that the backpack he carries holds a collection of his favorite toys, instead, it contains a bag of life-sustaining IV fluids and a pump that administers them to his body throughout the day. This has been a part of William’s daily life since his cancer treatment ended over 4 years ago.

Like many other children diagnosed with cancer, William continues to face life-altering medical challenges due to cancer treatment. William’s story is one of love, courage, and hope. His family feels his zest for life is the driving force behind his overall wellness. He inspires those around him to fully appreciate healthy times and make the most of them.

Our community is fortunate to have Golisano Children’s Hospital. We are truly thankful to Paige’s Butterfly Run for the services, research, and programs they provide our children and families in their greatest time of need.

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