Lakewood student named ‘hero’ after long fight with leukemia

April 27 will be the first anniversary of Chad Grosch’s stem cell transplant and it’s a time when his mother says they intend on doing something very special to honor it.

They’re going to ask to meet the person who donated the blood that appears to be saving Chad’s life. It’s unknown whether this person will agree to it, but she said they certainly want to ask for the opportunity.

“I don’t know what I’m going to say or do,” said Chad’s mother, Nicole Grosch. “How do you thank this person?”She intends to find a way to express her appreciation for what is fast appearing to be a miraculous gift.

“Each day he’s doing so well,” Nicole said. “He’s had a few setbacks, but his doctor says he’s doing great.”

Making it to the one-year mark is the big hurdle.Although they won’t know whether he’s leukemia-free until he undergoes a bone marrow biopsy on April 13, Nicole said they are cautiously optimistic that they’ll get good news. Their son is showing signs of recovery, which is so different from the hardships they’ve endured as a family that has made this day possible.

“The doctor told us after two years being in remission is when they will consider him cured technically,” she said.There’s a lot going on for Chad these days. “It’s so nice to see him being normal again, and to be back into a routine,” she said.

Chad returned to Lakewood Elementary School on March 6. He was recently named the school’s Cox Inspirational Hero. Nicole praised his school, as well as the entire community, for being so supportive.

“I never would have imagined this would have happened to us,” Nicole said. “The support and prayers have been overwhelming. Sometimes, that’s all you have.”

When Chad got the stem cell transplant, they were warned of all the things that could go wrong.

It put him in isolation at the hospital for 1 -1/2 months. Nicole said he could only see his doctors and parents with no outside food or even running water for fear of contamination. They also had to wear face masks and gloves.

When Chad got home, he was in isolation again from May of 2016 to February of 2017, which was challenging for him and his family.

“We’re on the other side of that now,” said a grateful mother. “It was a long, exhausting journey.”

When Chad could get what he wanted, he asked for beef jerky, Nicole said. When they could go out for food, he asked for and got Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, but he also asked for Taco Bell and Subway.

Just to get out, they went on a Disney cruise.

Although Nicole isn’t sure if she’s caught up on her sleep yet, she’s so relieved to see her son recovering after being diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2014.

“He hated being homebound and he is so happy to be back in class,” she said.

Because of so much missed school, he was held back a year in fourth grade, but she said he’s making new friends.Even so, Nicole remains cautiously optimistic after fighting this disease right along with her son for so long.

“It’s hard not to worry, but you want to live your life,” she said. “Not everybody is as lucky as Chad. He had a little friend with leukemia who didn’t make it. He died at 7 years old and used to play with Chad at the hospital. That is when it really hits home. Kids shouldn’t have to go through that.”


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