In 2009, Akron Children’s Hospital featured Cael Williams of Norton, Ohio, in one of its documentary-style TV commercials. The hospital’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders had diagnosed then 2-year-old Cael with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). After he was diagnosed in November 2008, Cael underwent six months of intensive chemotherapy to destroy cancerous white blood cells, so his body could replace them with healthy ones. Healthy white blood cells are essential for fighting infection.
Cael has responded well to treatment and his blood counts have continued to return to normal levels. He is now in the maintenance phase of his cancer treatment, which will continue until January 2012. Along with taking daily chemotherapy medication, he goes to Akron Children’s Hospital once a month to receive medication through spinal taps and IVs.
While the hospital treatments sometimes make him a little tired or irritable, they really haven’t dampened the spirits of this happy-go-lucky preschooler. As his 6-year-old sister, Catherine, notes, “He loves to play jokes.”
Cael, now 4 years old, also loves to wrestle with his three older brothers – Christopher, 13, C.J., 11, and Cannon, 5. In fact, someday he hopes to win a trophy just like his big brothers, but for now, he’s overcoming his biggest opponent – leukemia.
Cael’s mom, Charlene, is grateful that life has returned to normal for her family, or at least “as normal as it can be with five kids.”
In fact, Christmas 2010 marked the first holiday since Cael’s illness that they were able to visit family and friends, without fear of exposing him to colds or flu bugs. It also means that Cael is able to attend wrestling practice and get closer to that trophy he hopes to someday earn.