DHS senior diagnosed with osteosarcoma

The St. Charles Parish community is rallying around Terrance Anderson, a 17-year-old senior at Destrehan High School, after his recent diagnosis with osteosarcoma. A GoFundMe titled “Help Terrance Beat Cancer” has already reached the initial goal of $5,000, and the account is still accumulating money for the Montz teen and his family as he undergoes treatment.

Tyrianna Burks, Anderson’s mother, is a para educator at Harry Hurst Middle School. She first took her son to the doctor at the advice of his basketball coach, who noticed Anderson running oddly at practice.

“He was trying out for the team and at tryouts the coach saw him hopping on one leg,” Burks said. “He told the coach his leg had been hurting, and so his coach told him, ‘Ask your mom to take you to the doctor.’”

Burks said she immediately made an appointment with Anderson’s pediatrician, and at that appointment the doctor conducted a physical and then pointed them to an orthopedic doctor at Children’s Hospital. After that doctor ordered an MRI, a spot on Anderson’s femur bone was detected.

It would take a week-long hospital stay, more MRIs and an eventual biopsy for the bone cancer diagnosis.

Burks said Anderson has been completing his senior year of high school virtually as he undergoes chemo treatments. The plan, she said, is for 10 weeks of chemo and then a surgery.

“Around Christmas the surgery should take place as long as the tumor is 90% dead,” she said.

Burks, a single mother, has exhausted her sick and personal days at work as she brings Anderson to and from treatments. Her pay is now being docked as she continues to care for Anderson and her other children.

Burks said her spirits remain high, as that’s the only way Anderson will allow.

“He was in denial for a while, but it got to the point where the reality of having cancer was setting in as he started to feel bad because of the chemo and he started losing his hair,” Burks said. “But he told me, ‘Mom, if I can stay positive just promise me that you’ll stay positive.’”

The love and support shown to the family has been tremendous, Burks added.

“We have a big support system,” she said. “His friends and teachers call and check on him and the staff at Hurst are always asking how we are. The oncologist and hematologist are looking forward to letting him go to prom and graduation. I just want everyone to know that Terrance and I appreciate them beyond measure … if we never ever believed we were loved, we know now.”


About Monique Roth 831 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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