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7-year-old celebrates birthday while battling rare form of cancer

By Trae Harris and Hannah Mose

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    SANFORD, Michigan (WNEM) — A 7-year-old Sanford boy is celebrating his birthday in the midst of uncertainty.

Odin Henson has been battling a rare form of cancer for nearly a year.

“I can’t stress enough the power in support,” said Alanna Lee, Odin’s aunt.

Odin seems like your typical 7-year-old boy: silly, smart, artistic, he loves playing “Fortnite”.

“He just has this way of, anyone who interacts with Odin remembers him and they love him,” Lee said.

It has been hard for the family to believe that just nine months ago, they were taking the Sanford boy to the doctors because of constant illnesses. Those visits eventually would lead to a heartbreaking diagnosis.

Lee said they began back in February when Odin’s mother brought him to the family doctor.

“From there, taking him to Covenant. From Covenant taken down to Hurley. From Hurley, we got the official diagnosis of a Wilms tumor,” Lee said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Wilms tumor is a rare kidney cancer that mainly affects children.

However, Odin’s was even rarer: a diffuse anaplastic Wilms tumor, which form that’s more resistant to treatment, according to the National Library of Medicine.

The news was hard to take in for a single mother of three boys.

“To be told your son has a melon-sized mass on his kidney, that it’s cancer and everything has to go,” Lee said.

Surgeons removed the tumor and kidney with no problems, but pathology revealed the cancer was stage three and it had spread to Odin’s lymph nodes.

Those too had to be removed.

Despite the multiple surgeries, weekly infusions, and radiation treatments, Odin’s aunt said the boy has an indomitable spirit.

“Never, he never cries about it,” she said. “He never questions it. Sometimes he’ll make jokes about who he’s looking forward to seeing.”

Wednesday, Dec. 20 should have been a day to make jokes as it was his birthday, but instead he’s getting ready for his 13th round of chemotherapy.

But his family is relieved he’s getting closer to the finish line, at which point he’ll be able to experience — in person — the support of the people behind him.

The feeling of community and knowing that this situation can feel so lonely and it can feel so isolating,” Lee said.

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