Meet just a few of the kids from our region who benefit from Brave Kids Bold Cures and the funds we raise for Roger Maris Cancer Center and Sanford Children's.

Meet Chase

The pain started in Chase Jones’ ankle. It was so unbearable, the 6-year-old wouldn’t walk on it. His parents, Doug and Marcie, were baffled.

They brought Chase to his primary care doctor in Minot, N.D., never expecting their lives were about to change forever. Blood tests revealed Chase likely had cancer.

Doug and Marcie were stunned silent as the medical team prepped the family to leave that night for Sanford Children’s and Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo.

“I just watched him and looked at him and that’s when I got emotional and broke down,” Doug said. “I was just giving Chase a hug and his old soul came back again and he said, ‘Dad, don’t cry.’”

A week later, Chase was officially diagnosed with a rare, high-risk form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Once you hear that, your body just goes into like a shut-down,” Doug said. “It’s like the end of the world and all you can do is think about the possibilities.”

Treatment has been hard on everybody. Continual blood work and chemotherapy take a toll on Chase’s little body, but he’s as brave and strong as he can be.

“He’s taught me what strength is,” Marcie said.

The regimen sometimes requires Chase to be at Sanford Children’s and Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo for days and weeks at a time. It means he’s four hours from home, away from his two sisters and brother, missing school and coping with the side effects of treatment, like hair loss, nausea and a weakened immune system.

“The battle with this form of cancer is an extremely long journey with all kinds of twists and turns along the way,” Doug said.

But the physicians, nurses and staff do their best to make Sanford Children's and Roger Maris Cancer Center feel more like a home away from home than a hospital.

“From the first phone call, Sanford has been like a member of our family,” Doug said. “They put our minds at ease every time we walk through those big doors at Children’s on level 4.”

Chase’s journey is just beginning, but with the support of Brave Kids Bold Cures, he has a fighting chance.

“You plan for the best and that would be that he goes into remission and is able to go about life as normal ... having his friends, doing the things he likes to do, riding his bike and graduating high school,” Doug said. “From there, whatever he wants to do is an open road.”

You can help kids like Chase with a gift to Brave Kids Bold Cures. Funds help purchase lifesaving equipment, fuel pediatric cancer research and support unique programs and services to benefit all pediatric oncology patients and their families.

Help Chase today.

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Meet Silas

Silas Rehbein is 4 years old and full of spirit.

“He’s by far our most challenging child of four boys,” his mom, Savannah, said with a chuckle.

But she wouldn't change a thing about him, except to somehow erase cancer from his life.

Silas' journey started at dinner one night in the fall of 2016. He complained of a stomach ache and felt warm. The next day, he was too sick to finish the school day. Savannah picked him up early and later that night, desperately tried to stop a bloody nose.

After a series of tests and consultations with doctors near their home in Dickinson, N.D., they learned the devastating news: Silas was facing acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Of course, when you get that kind of news you immediately go from the diagnosis to death because you really don’t know any different,” Savannah said.

The next morning, Sanford AirMed transported Silas across the state to Sanford Children’s Fargo and Roger Maris Cancer Center.

The family had mixed feelings.

They were saddened to be so far from home, but relieved to get more answers and a treatment plan to fight Silas’ blood cancer.

So far, Silas has undergone blood transfusions, surgery and chemotherapy and experienced several setbacks. Through it all, his oncology team has been open and honest with the family and answers every question.

“The doctors, they’ve been great,” Savannah said. “They make sure we understand everything that’s going on and make sure we are comfortable with everything that’s going on.”

The Child Life Specialists help his three brothers understand what’s going on.

“They’re there to help with the kids and keep them comfortable,” said Savannah. From time to time, the Child Life Specialists and nurses comfort Savannah and her husband, Carl, too. It’s a constant struggle for them, to stay strong while trying to balance Silas’ care, their other boys' lives back home and their own work schedules.

“Everyone works really hard and makes sure we are taken care of,” Savannah said. “So they’ve been amazing.”

Support from Brave Kids Bold Cures helps keep Sanford Children's and the Roger Maris Cancer Center on the cutting edge of pediatric cancer care, supporting lifesaving technology, equipment and services to care for kids like Silas. All of this fills the Rehbeins with strength, and hope.

“His treatment is three and a half years with no major setbacks,” Savannah said. “He’s going to be 8 years old by the time this is all said and done. I just hope that he goes on to be a healthy, happy adult. Most of all, happy and healthy.”

You can help kids like Silas and their families with a gift to Brave Kids Bold Cures.

Help Silas today.

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Meet Haley

Haley Schallmo knows no limits.

“She loves everybody, wants to do everything and see everything,” Haley’s mom, Kristi, said. “She always tells me that she’s going to be a doctor when she grows up.”

It’s no surprise to Kristi because Haley has practically grown up in hospitals.

Haley was born with a severe heart disorder and has undergone numerous heart surgeries. In the first years of her life, she endured more than any child should. But then, in May 2016, Haley was also diagnosed with cancer.

“I was in total denial,” Kristi recalled after she first heard the news.

Treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia so far has been especially complicated by Haley's heart condition. Her body can’t handle chemotherapy and certain drugs. Instead, twice a day, every day, she gets two injections to prevent blood clots.

“I think that is the most awful thing I’ve ever had to do in my life: to do that to her every day,” Kristi said.

At times, the treatments have been physically painful for Haley and hard for her parents, who often feel helpless to comfort her.

“She’s had numerous reactions and she’s had excruciating pain in her bones,” Kristi said. “She would wake up screaming in the middle of the night and you couldn’t touch her. It was like she was coming out of her skin.”

Through everything, they are grateful to lean on their family at Sanford Children's and Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo.

“All the nursing staff at the hospital is amazing,” said Kristi. “They’re all wonderful and they all want you to understand. As a parent, it’s comforting to know that I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Thanks to support from Brave Kids Bold Cures, Sanford Children's and Roger Maris Cancer Center can provide world-class, child-focused care for kids like Haley. Funds also support pediatric cancer research, in which Haley has been able to participate, helping advance treatments and cures for kids.

“I just keep telling myself she has a very obvious purpose on this Earth,” Kristi said. “Every challenge she encounters is also a challenge for the medical community. They’ve all learned a lot from her.”

The Schallmo family has also benefited from the unique programs and services from Brave Kids Bold Cures to help. That support is a huge relief for the family, and it lets them stay focused on what's most important: fighting for Haley's future.

“We still have to continue treatment, but that doesn’t hold back her dreams,” Kristi said. You can help kids like Haley and their families with a gift to Brave Kids Bold Cures.

Help Haley today.

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