Carter McPherson, 4

“A family that prays together, stays together.” - Tiffany, Carter’s Mother

March Model of the Month

At the young age of three years old, a sweet little boy named Carter was diagnosed with Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Prior to his diagnosis, Carter’s family moved from Destin, Florida to Orlando for a better job opportunity. Right after their move in October 2016, Carter’s back and legs were hurting him so badly he could barely walk or function as a normal high energy little boy. His family was very concerned and took him to his doctor. Four pediatricians later, blood work was completed and he was diagnosed with pediatric cancer in February of 2017. His mother, Tiffany, thanks God every day that they were in Orlando for his diagnosis because of the wonderful staff and the treatment provided. Carter immediately started treatment after his diagnosis and had surgery to insert his port. Tiffany says from the very beginning Carter was always so strong for being so young.

At first, the diagnosis was a shock to the family and his mother explained that no one could prepare their family for this daily battle. She expressed how important it is to take this journey one day at a time. Carter’s diagnosis has brought this family closer to God and Tiffany is so thankful for her family bond!

Today, Carter is an active four-year-old that has completed the first segment of his treatment plan and is now on maintenance. He still has another two years of monthly visits, oral medication and spinal taps every three months, but the family is grateful for their time together and healing. Carter is all boy! He loves to skateboard, ride his bike and scooter, jump on his trampoline and play Mario kart! One day he hopes to grow up to become a superhero just like his heroes Green Lantern, Spiderman, and Deadpool. In the meantime, Carter will play outside and watch his Ninja Turtles.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, also called ALL, is the most common type of cancer in children. This type of cancer affects the bloodstream and bone marrow. It can get quickly get worse if not treated. Children with ALL are often divided into risk groups; standard, high or very high. B-cell ALL, Carter’s Diagnosis, makes the child more likely to get infections because they do not have the protection of those B cells. More intensive treatment is given to those in the higher risk groups and they have a higher chance of relapse. Relapse risk can be predicted by early response to therapy, clinical and pharmacogenetic features of the host, and genetic characteristics of leukemic cells. Other factors that determine which group include, age of the child and their initial blood cell count at diagnosis.

Last year, Runway to Hope was able to grant this family financial assistance while they were in the midst of treatment. Tiffany says it helped so much to remove one thing off her plate so she could focus on Carter! Runway to Hope has been honored to know this family. Our team met Carter last year right before the Spring Fashion Soiree and then we watched him blossom onstage in front of 2,400 guests! Carter is already signed up for 2018 and ready to walk the runway again! Don’t miss him onstage on May 19th, 2018!

Runway to Hope / 189 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1800 / Orlando, FL 32801 / 407.802.1544