Meet Will, a forever 11 year old childhood cancer hero.
At three years old, Will was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. He immediately started chemotherapy when it was discovered that he had Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). This syndrome causes a mutation of the TP-53 gene which results in a susceptibility of several cancers. Since being diagnosed with LFS, Will underwent full body scans each year.
For four and a half years, Will was considered to have no evidence of disease(NED). In April 2018, doctors found a tumor on his left pelvic bone and began treatment for osteosarcoma. Will endured chemotherapy and surgery on his pelvic bone. The team resected a large portion of his hip bone. After his surgery, he was declared NED in February 2019. For seven months, Will remained NED until a scan in August 2019 revealed osteosarcoma in his right hip bone. Hip replacement was necessary and this time, unfortunately chemotherapy was not an option.
Will was a fierce competitor in basketball and baseball and loved playing video games with his friends. He loved the color blue because it represented many of his favorite professional teams including the New York Giants, New York Yankees and the New York Rangers.
Will was determined to not let cancer get him down. Despite his diagnosis, he continued to brighten up every room he entered and giggle helping his family and friends feel at ease. On June 2, 2020, Will passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones, after a courageous battle with pediatric cancer. According to Judy Shields, Will’s grandmother, “he was certainly a gift to the world! He taught us all how to fight and stay strong right to the end. Smart as a whip with a smile to light up a room. We will miss him forever.”