Involved that the pneumonia he had skilled round Thanksgiving had returned, they took him to the ER for a chest X-ray. Dr. James Hanley at Ochsner Medical Heart in Jefferson, Louisiana, ordered some exams. A short time later, he sat down with Ross and Lisa Kott to interrupt the information: Their son had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood and bone marrow most cancers.
“We had no clue that he was as sick as he was, actually no warning in any respect,” Lisa Kott mentioned. “It simply got here out of nowhere, simply days earlier than Christmas.”
Callan began chemotherapy therapy instantly. He responded effectively to it, and the employees at Ochsner labored to verify the Kott household would be capable of go residence by Christmas.
Though Callan dealt with these tough few days effectively, he was additionally too younger to know why the nurses needed to maintain poking him with needles and taking blood samples. He would cry and get upset.
Determined to maintain him calm, his dad and mom tried to distract him with movies. Earlier than the nurses walked in with extra needles, Ross Kott pulled up the trailer for “Star Wars: The Pressure Awakens.”
“When Ross confirmed him that preview, he composed himself,” Lisa Kott mentioned. “It was the oddest factor. And I feel we most likely watched it 100 occasions after that.”
Though Ross liked the “Star Wars” movies as a child, he had by no means proven them to his son and even talked about the collection. He was amazed to see Callan join so strongly with a two-minute trailer. The boy’s favourite characters turned Kylo Ren and the rolling droid BB-Eight.
Over these 4 days within the hospital, his dad and mom saved displaying Callan the trailer each time needles have been concerned.
“Then, his love of ‘Star Wars’ took on a lifetime of its personal,” Ross mentioned.
Callan fell in love with “Star Wars” Legos and the “Clone Wars” animated collection. “The Pressure Awakens” is the one movie within the saga he has watched; his dad and mom have tried to indicate him the others, however he lets them know when it will get too scary to proceed.
Wanting to make sure the Kotts felt like they have been in the appropriate place, the employees at Ochsner performed alongside, calling him “Star Wars Callan.” At first, when he would present up for therapy, the Kotts would guarantee that his room was filled with “Star Wars” decorations. Then, the nurses stunned them with their very own decorations.
Each time the boy had certainly one of his 18 or so spinal faucets, they introduced him a “Star Wars” balloon.
Callan’s therapy was like a curler coaster: bouts of intense chemo adopted by lighter weeks, inpatient one week and outpatient the following. The toughest half for the very social child was not having the ability to be in class, play along with his associates or be round different relations resulting from his depleted immune system.
However throughout the ups and downs, he would “prepare” along with his mild saber within the hallway, put on the masks of his favourite “Star Wars” characters, sing the “Imperial March” and maintain out his fingers to “use the Pressure” in preventing his most cancers. He advised different sufferers that they might use the Pressure to assist their most cancers, too.
When Callan needed to shave his head, Ross Kott did it too, telling him it was a part of coaching to turn into a Jedi. Callan additionally shares his love of Star Wars along with his 2-year-old brother Ari.
“It is an important outlet, it is fantastic for a child with such a critical analysis to narrate to that stage of creativeness,” Lisa Kott mentioned. “It is nearly such as you want that to get by it. You’ll be able to’t get by one thing so extreme with out actually making it lighthearted for them.”
Ross mentioned the “Star Wars” theme has been an important distraction, bringing everybody on the hospital collectively and boosting morale, together with their very own. Though the couple has struggled with the analysis, they continue to be optimistic and upbeat round Callan and encourage his love of the sci-fi/fantasy collection.
Callan began to enhance with out setbacks in August, and his hair grew again a pair months later. He was additionally capable of return to high school and be round different folks. Now, he is in remission and upkeep section. His therapy and commentary will final by 2019.
Callan’s story helps encourage different youngsters and households by the St. Baldrick’s Basis, a charity that funds childhood most cancers analysis and hosts occasions that convey collectively households affected by childhood most cancers.
About one in 285 youngsters in america can be recognized with most cancers earlier than age 20, in accordance with the foundation, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common type. Based on the American Most cancers Society, more than 90% of youngsters recognized with the illness survive.
Callan will spend Thursday, “Star Wars” Day, at a Could the 4th Be With You occasion surrounded by his favourite costumed characters on the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans.
He is nonetheless preventing most cancers day-after-day, regardless that he appears to be like like a standard child, Ross Kott mentioned. If his temperature ever seems increased than regular, they might should take him to the ER.
The household appears to be like ahead, moderately than again. They’re grateful to the neighborhood that has supported them in each means all through these tough two years.
“Watching your little one struggling if you’re helpless is among the worst issues you’ll be able to expertise in life,” Lisa Kott mentioned.
“I do know that demise is on the doorstop. I am not going to let him in, and he will be ready there for a really very long time. The distinction between us and another household is that they do not see him on the doorstep. I see him, and in true Southern vogue, I’ll give him a glass of iced tea whereas he waits. As a result of we’re nonetheless going to bounce and have enjoyable within the presence of all that. It isn’t going to be doom and gloom in our home.”