Living in the Moment with October CCA Hero, Uriah

CCA Hero Uriah

At just three years old, our October Hero Uriah is wise beyond his years and a joy to everyone who meets him. He loves tractors, listening to animal sounds, and exploring the great outdoors with his family.

Uriah’s deep love for nature makes it tough for him to spend long days at the “sick hotel,” as he calls the hospital. But he knows that the “yukky medicine” will help him get well, and faces his treatments with the courage and strength of a true hero.

A Devastating Diagnosis

In late 2018, Uriah wasn’t feeling like his usual bouncy self. His family was on vacation in Hawaii and much of the trip was spent sleeping with fevers. They thought he might have a viral illness and took him to the doctor when they returned home. But, the pediatrician said that he would get better. “Two weeks later he was worse, losing weight quickly and hardly eating. On Christmas Eve, our pediatrician told us to take him to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, they now suspected cancer, but didn’t know what kind,” his mother Regina shared.

A flurry of tests later, the results came in: Uriah had neuroblastoma. Doctors discovered a baseball-sized tumor in his abdomen, sinus tumors, and a number of other complications from the cancer.

Smoothing the Road to Recovery

Since his diagnosis, Uriah has been at the hospital for the majority of his treatment, but even the off weeks are busy with medical appointments. Despite a hectic schedule, the family didn’t want to miss any opportunities for Uriah to be in the comfort of his own home.

With near four-hour drives from their home in Yachats, OR, and potentially dangerous winter road conditions, the family was concerned about their need for better tires. So CCA’s Link Program stepped in to help the family purchase new tires for their vehicle.

“We don’t get snow out on the coast, and we normally avoid travel in bad weather. Funds were tight since we had very little income with all our time spent at the hospital. We were very appreciative to have that help,” Regina said.

Ready to Rock

Music has been a vital part of Uriah’s treatment, helping him to stay in the moment and express his emotions. Uriah’s first introduction to music in the hospital was when MyMusicRx Specialist, Cameron, knocked on his hospital door. Much to Cameron’s surprise, Uriah was not into the children’s songs most kids his age favor. He wanted rock and roll!

“When I first met Uriah, I asked what songs he liked to listen to and fully anticipated the Disney standards,” remembers Cameron. “What I found, was that this little dude wanted to rock out! I’m constantly blown away by the deep cuts he asks for, like Kraftwerk or The Who.”

For Uriah, the music reminds him of home, where tunes often waft through the house or play on outdoor speakers. According to Uriah’s dad, Glen, having MyMusicRx to play and sing with him in the hospital has made all the difference. “Cameron has been really good with Uriah, indulging him in all the weird songs we listen to,” he smiled. “It’s actually fun for all of us. Uriah was stumping Cameron with one of his music requests, but Cameron went out and learned it. The next time he came he knew it! To see Uriah light up and sing along with Cameron was wonderful.”

Meet the “Toy Lady”

Uriah’s Chemo Pal Mentor Chelsea has also been a bright spot in his treatment, providing Uriah with a welcoming friend to look forward to at the hospital. He affectionately calls Chelsea “Toy Lady.”

The two new friends hit it off immediately, sitting for hours on end playing while giving Uriah’s parents some much-needed rest.

“Chelsea is able to indulge him for much longer than I have the energy to do at this point,” admitted Regina. “It’s also great that she’s a consistent presence because, at Uriah’s age, it takes a while to warm up to new people. So for him to see to that familiar face is really nice.”

Looking Ahead

As Uriah responds to his treatment, the change in him has been remarkable. “He’s like a completely different kid,” said Regina. “And if you think he’s cute and active now, wait until he’s feeling his best!”

Eventually, the family hopes to return to Hawaii for a “re-do” so that Uriah can experience the islands again when he’s feeling better. He’s eager to return to the things he loved best about the trip, like listening to geckos and visiting the ducks that lived in a nearby pond.

One thing’s for certain—cancer has never defined Uriah’s passion for life, and it never will. Regardless of what he is up against, he simply wants to learn, play, rock out, laugh, and dance—and nothing, not even cancer, can take that away.

The power of Joy!