Blood donations help MO boy beat cancer twice - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Blood donations help MO boy beat cancer twice


Surviving cancer can be something that is very challenging to deal with as an adult, but even more tough as a child.

A little boy in Dexter, Mo. survived Leukemia twice and has kept pushing forward.

“Basketball and LeBron James," Gaige Willems said is his favorite sport and superstar.

Those are the two things that kept Gaige Willems going through his cancer fight, and he hopes to join the NBA one day.

 “He’s never a quitter, he would always tell me mom I know I would get sick from this, but I’m not gonna let it get me sick," Misty Willems, Gaige's mom said.

When Gaige was just 5 years old, his parents noticed bruising and severe sickness, so they decided to take him to the doctor where they diagnosed him with leukemia, she said.

 “We immediately had to get transferred to St. Louis and get started with blood and plating products after they told us everything that was going on," Misty said.

Gaige continued treatment for 3.5 years with more than 100 blood transfusions and was considered cancer-free in 2011, until he relapsed in 2012.

“The second time around the chemo was a lot hard on him. He had several side effects, he had seizures and problems with blood pressure," she said.

Last April, Gaige went into liver and kidney failure and doctors decided to do an experimental drug that patients have to meet two of the three qualifications for, Gaige met all three.

Luckily, the treatment worked and he’s been cancer free since 2014.

Scott Kruze, Dexter Middle School principal, said he brings hope to not only his community but his school as well.

“He brings awareness to these kids," he said. "When you in the sixth, seventh, or eighth grade you don’t think about cancer. You don’t think about bad things generally speaking, and he brings an awareness to them on that.”

But through everything Gaige has been through, he keeps one quote in his heart.

“When you’ve reached your limits, it’s just the beginning," Gaige said.

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