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Still Fighting: The only thing Mikey Thorpe’s family is losing to cancer is their hair

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 11th, 2012

Evanston 9-year-old Mikey Thorpe is once again battling cancer — and unfortunately the treatments cost him his hair. But parents Michael and Tessa showed their support for their son by adopting the same “hairstyle.” HERALD PHOTO/Liz Hoefler

EVANSTON — An unnamed author once wrote, “Children with cancer are like candles in the wind who accept the possibility that they are in danger of being extinguished by a gust of wind from nowhere and yet, as they flicker and dance to remain alive, their brilliance challenges the darkness and dazzles those of us who watch their light.”

Mikey Thorpe is just such a candle, with a smile that can light up any room and warm everyone’s heart. Mikey, now 9 years old, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May 2009. He was in remission after initial treatments that year, but relapsed last October.

 Currently, the boy’s new chemo plan is scheduled to run two years, instead of the 3 1/2 years he endured in the first round; but this round will be more intense. First, he underwent four weekly appointments for treatments. For the next phase, he was admitted to Primary Children’s Medical Center for five days.

“The doctors said that the statistics on a relapse are one in 10 children will relapse, and the cure rate is at 70 percent,” Michael Thorpe, Mikey’s dad, said.

Mikey was really upset when he started losing his hair again, and didn’t want to shave his head, according to his dad. In support of his situation, however, Tessa Thorpe, Mikey’s mom, shaved her head and then posted a photo of the change on Facebook.

“Then, all of the sudden, we had people we don’t even know posting pictures that said, ‘Tell Mikey we did, too.’ Then, a few people we know from Rock Springs and local resident Rick Tang [did it, too],” Michael said.

Mikey asked Santa for a tablet computer for Christmas, so he can take it with him during his hospital stays, and do his schooling on it. He is likely back at Primary Children’s as of press time, and may be required to spend Christmas there as well, but his family is remaining positive and optimistic.

“We beat it before, and we can do it again,” they agreed.


From the July 22, 2011 Uinta County Herald...

Mikey fighting, winning against leukemia

By Shayna Marcure, Herald Intern

“May 13, 2009, was almost his last day,” 7-year-old Mikey Thorpe’s mother, Tessa Thorpe, told the Herald. “He was taken to Salt Lake in an ambulance because his blood counts were so low.”

Three blood transfusions, two platelet transfusions and multiple bone marrow tests later, Mikey was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“For me, when I got the diagnosis, I felt like I was hit by a truck,” Tessa said.

He began chemotherapy treatments through a portacath placed in his chest May 18, 2009. One month after his first visit to Salt Lake City’s Primary Children’s Medical Center, Mikey’s diagnosis was confirmed.

“Mikey did regress and it was sad in the beginning. He had life, but not full life after the first couple transfusions,” said Thorpe. “He has had an amazing personality through it all. He’s my miracle child.”

Today, Mikey visits PCMC once a month for chemotherapy treatments, part of a three-year treatment program, that will continue through next year.

When his chemotherapy treatments are completed, Mikey will visit PCMC frequently for check-ups, and will continue to take medication at home.

Mikey and his mother participated in this year’s Relay for Life, held at Evanston Middle School. Mikey rode his bike around the track, including the Survivor Lap, in support and recognition of cancer victims.

“I rode around the track I think 20 times. My mom finally took off my training wheels. She was scared to,” Mikey said.

“I’m very thankful for everyone who has supported us in this community,” Tessa said.

As a single mom, she was very appreciative of members of the school district who initiated a benefit dinner as a fundraiser for Mikey, as well as local businesses Murdoch’s and Mother Mae’s Kitchen, who have maintained donation jars for Mikey. And she’s thankful to the entire community for their support.

“It has been a long journey, and we still have a long road ahead of us,” she said. “With strength, hope and bravery we will make it. Mikey’s spirit has blossomed so much. He’s the most amazing son anybody could ask for.”

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