AJ was a healthy, active 14-year-old boy when he began to experience upper back pain in November of 2008. The pain increased over the next month, and then his left arm became numb and left hand was very weak. On December 15th 2008, AJ was admitted to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He had an MRI that revealed a tumor pressing on the upper left side of his spine. Six hours later, AJ went into neurosurgery. Doctors removed the tumor and fused AJ's spine. After the biopsy results, AJ was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma* on December 19th. AJ then had 14 rounds of in-patient chemotherapy and a course of radiation... all while beginning the long road back through physical therapy. He kept a very positive and upbeat attitude, which he credits for his success both with treatment and with his physical recovery. On August 3rd, 2009, AJ was happy to hear that he had reached remission; he was 15. AJ's tremendous dedication, stellar attitude, and hard work in physical therapy has been nothing less than heroic, and upon being able to run laps and swim a mile, he has graduated from PT. He wants to share his story to help raise awareness for pediatric cancer.
*Ewing's Sarcoma is a highly aggressive and malignant form of pediatric bone cancer, which can be found in both bone and soft tissue. Ewing's is caused by a genetic accident, which occurs when two chromosomes transpose at the time of fetal development. The recurrence rate for Ewing's is 50%, and has no known cure for recurrence.