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“He always had a smile even in the low parts of his treatment.”- Karla, Axel’s Mother

When Axel was nine years old, he was a healthy young man with dreams to become a wrestler. A simple visit to the pediatrician’s office for his annual visit turned into this family’s worst nightmare. The doctor noticed that Axel was shaking abnormally in his visit. After further testing, doctors found a tumor in his brain. Axel had to undergo a biopsy, which ended with a confirmed diagnosis of Malignant Anaplastic Astrocytoma Grade III on October 28th, 2016. Shortly after diagnosis, he had surgery to insert his port to start his yearlong treatment plan. Axel started chemotherapy on November 19th, 2016 and celebrated his last day on August 21st, 2017. He also endured 33 days of radiation from November of 2016 to January of 2017. Axel is an extremely strong fighter! His family describes him as a happy boy and his goals are to finish all of his treatment in addition to being a great person! Axel’s most recent milestone is that he no longer has to have scans every three months. They will now happen every six months and this is a huge accomplishment for his diagnosis.

Axel’s Mother, Karla, said the diagnosis has not changed their family much because the doctors and staff explained in detail what Axel was going to encounter throughout his treatment. It was reassuring to the family that they were safe in their hands. Karla was surprised how calm Axel was when he was first diagnosed. He always had a smile even in the low parts of his treatment. Before Axel was diagnosed, he watch his grandmother battle cancer and pass away four months before his diagnosis. Axel was very close with his grandmother and watching her go through treatment gave him strength through his. In Axel’s down time, he likes to play his Nintendo Switch and watch Monday Night Raw Smackdown wrestling!

Anaplastic Astrocytoma Grade III is a rare malignant brain tumor. This type of tumor can produce symptoms such as weakness, unsteady walking and a loss of sensation. Astrocytomas are tumors that develop from certain star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. Astrocytes and similar cells form tissue that surrounds and protects other nerve cells found within the brain and spinal cord. Anaplastic astrocytomas are usually not curable, but are treatable. Doctors do their best to control the tumor and keep it from growing and causing more symptoms using many different tools including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are both high-grade gliomas and together account for approximately 10 percent of pediatric brain tumors. The median age at diagnosis of anaplastic astrocytoma is 9 to 10 years old. Patients may live for years with benign gliomas, but malignant astrocytomas and glioblastomas can be fatal within two years with treatment and often within weeks if untreated. This statistics are exactly that, numbers. Axel and his family are strong and will take one day at a time during this process. They will continue to celebrate milestones and make memories for a lifetime. This happy family does not let anything stop them from bringing hope in their lives and others.

Late April of 2017, the team at Runway to Hope received a call from Axel’s social worker asking if Axel could still participate in the 2017 Spring Fashion Soiree. Of course, the answer was yes! She explained that Axel loved wrestling and was ecstatic to have the chance to meet Nikki Bella. Thankfully, our team was able to surprise Axel onstage when he was modeling by having Nikki Bella read his information for 2,300 guests to hear how much he loved wrestling, Nikki Bella, and John Cena! Seeing Nikki and Axel hug onstage was a moment that will last forever! Axel and his family truly are incredible people and we hope to see Axel on the runway in our 2019 Spring Fashion Soiree!

To see more kids onstage and to hear their stories, please consider sponsoring or purchasing a ticket to our 2019 Spring Fashion Soiree on May 18th, 2019! It is an event you do not want to miss!

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