With this month being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to shine a light on one of our own, our personal hero, Daniel.
During the summer of 2020, Daniel Newman began experiencing severe headaches. He soon diagnosed himself to his father with the words, “I think I have a brain tumor.” Trusting his child’s instincts, Daniel was taken to the doctor shortly thereafter.
On August 4, 2020, Daniel Newman went to his pediatrician after experiencing the headaches. His doctor referred him to an ENT, where Daniel’s dad demanded an MRI be done. The MRI detected a golfball sized mass at the base of Daniel’s skull.
Daniel and his family were advised to drive to Le Bonheur Hospital, in Memphis, where a pediatric neurosurgeon was waiting for him. Daniel underwent surgery that lasted roughly 5 hours. Pathology would soon confirm what the surgeon had suspected… the mass was Medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor.
A team of doctors at St. Jude created a plan for Daniel. The plan for his treatment included seven weeks of proton radiation followed by four months of chemotherapy. The radiation caused Daniel to lose his hair and appetite, he suffered from extensive weight loss, and hearing loss.
Daniel and his family were prepared to have a day of celebration on March 26, 2021, his last day of chemo. Unfortunately, the next day Daniel’s blood count was tested and results showed the count to be low, doctors requested a retest, and by the end of the week his numbers had bottomed out.
Daniel’s mom was advised to bring Daniel back to the hospital for plasma and blood transfusions. Later that same evening, Daniel became unable to breathe, and it was determined that Daniel was in septic shock. His parents, family, and loved ones were told that Daniel most likely would not make it through the night. He was transferred back to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, by ambulance.
Back at the hospital, Daniel was connected to an ECMO machine to get his blood circulating regularly, again. During the course of the next few hours, his heart would stop beating four different times, one of those times being ten minutes long.
The medical team refused to give up on Daniel. Daniel had been resuscitated and was connected to a dialysis machine and put on a ventilator. Then, yet another setback, Daniel’s heart began to swell and doctors had to perform emergency surgery to prevent more swelling. Daniel’s left leg became extremely discolored and talk of amputation was in the air.
After two weeks, Daniel was transferred back to St. Jude where he remained in the intensive care unit for quite some time.
Daniel, a true warrior to all who know him, or have heard his story, is still fighting a battle that none of us can see. His whole world has been turned upside down in a matter of two short years.
God? He had other plans.
Daniel? He’s still smiling.