It was November of 2011, seven year old Ilai just completed a successful soccer season. Looking forward to returning to school after Thanksgiving break, his first day back did not go well. Ilai called home complaining of pain in his left knee. Ilai saw his pediatrician that day and was immediately referred to Rady Children’s Hospital for an X-ray.
At the Hospital, doctors found a growth in Ilai’s left leg and performed a biopsy. Ilai’s parents, Debi and Avi, were given the devastating news that they should be prepared for a cancer diagnosis. “The wait and the utter feeling of uncertainty and helplessness was the most traumatic time of our lives.” said Debi. Ilai’s parents soon learned that his pain was caused by diffuse large B cell stage 2-lymphoma bone cancer. This type of cancer is aggressive and requires immediate treatment. Debi and Avi were relieved to hear that although Ilai’s cancer is rare it is treatable.
“Ilai’s parents quickly learned as much as they could about the disease to determine whether or not Rady Children’s Hospital could cure their angel”, said Debi. They spoke to leading Doctors in the U.S.. “All of them confirmed that the treatment plan prescribed by Doctor Schiff of the Peckham Center was effective, and that the facility at the Peckham Center was state of the art”, Debi explained.
“Over the next four months Rady Children’s Hospital became our home and Ilai began his courageous journey to recovery” said Debi. Debi and Avi were impressed with the cutting edge program at the hospital. “Alongside the chemo, Ilai received yoga, reflexology, acupuncture, psychological guidance as well as a healthy diet, pure air and water”, she added.
“Ilai experienced painful side effects from chemo, but coped amazingly well”, said Debi. Today he is cancer free, out of his wheel chair, and back to scoring soccer goals. “Ilai’s golden hair grew back shinier and he is stronger than ever”, she said. “We remain forever grateful for the support we received from our family, community, hospital and especially our Doctor at Rady Children’s Hospital who tenaciously protected and nursed Ilai to recovery”, Debi added. “We believe that Ilai’s bravery, positive attitude and inner strength are not unique. Our challenge is to empower children to harness their strengths to overcome disease”, said Debi.
Rady Children’s Hospital Peckham Center, Ilai and his caring support team proved it is possible!