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3-year-old still fighting rare lung cancer


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3-year-old still fighting rare lung cancer

Family receives "Make A Wish" trip to Disney World

By ANGEL N. TAYLOR

News Journal

ASHLAND -- Benjamin and Christina Bland believe their 3-year-old son has been healed from a rare, aggressive form of cancer, although doctors have yet to give him a clean bill of health.

"We believe God healed him and took care of him," Christina said.

Elijah Bland was born April 8, 2005, six weeks premature. In September 2005, he had surgery to remove a water-filled cyst in his right lung. It was later diagnosed as Type II pleuropulmonary blastoma.

A News Journal story on Elijah in November described chemotherapy treatments, hospital stays and mounting medical expenses.

On June 3, Elijah had his last chemotherapy treatment.

It wasn't easy. He had an allergic reaction to nausea medicine and Benadryl, which resulted in another hospital stay.

"He had three seizures within five hours," Christina said. "His oxygen level had dropped 65 percent, but he was stable after three minutes.

"For his 3-year-old body, he's had lots of medicines running through his little body."

After a night in intensive care, Elijah had an MRI and an EEG with good results.

"He's been fine since he's been home. He's also been off of his seizure meds," Christina said. "The nurses said, 'Elijah had to go out with a bang. He wants us to remember him.' "

Elijah has a lung scan every three months, plus an MRI of his brain and a bone scan of his entire body every six months. Blood and other tests happen every month in Akron.

"As of now, Elijah stands a 65 percent survival rate," Christina said. "If he can go 2 to 5 years without this tumor coming back, doctors say they will consider him to be cured. (His) doctor told me that with Type 2 pleuropulmonary blastoma, if it is to reoccur, it normally does within two years, so that is why doctors will be observing closely with all the routine scans."

In September, Elijah has his first chest scan. If results are still negative, he'll have his chemotherapy Mediport removed.

"We have been so blessed," she said. "With all the negatives that have stood in front of Elijah, he still has a smile on his face.

"He is my little hero and I love him so much."

The Make-A-Wish Foundation awarded the Blands an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in Florida.

"The hospital told me about the Make-A-Wish program and that he is entitled to it because of his therapy," Christina said. "It's for children who have a life-threatening illness -- even if they're not dying. It gives the family a break after everything they've been through."

The family left Wednesday in a black stretch limousine and will be back Tuesday. They were given spending money and a suite in a special hotel called "Give Kids the World."

"He's been talking about Mickey Mouse and flying," Christina said before the family's departure. "He doesn't comprehend it to the fullest. He thinks he's just going bye-bye."

Christina said she wants to thank everyone who helped her family -- through money, fundraising or other means.

"My deepest thanks to you all for your support and prayers," she said. "You all have been a blessing to our family.

"We still believe God is working miracles, and we believe in a full recovery for Elijah."

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