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FATE (CBSDFW.COM) – Nate Oxford is only 5-years-old, but has already battled cancer three times. The last time, doctors said he only had weeks to live.
The cancer wouldn’t go away, but the family also wouldn’t give up. Drastic measures were needed so the family took a chance on a radical new treatment.
The end result is a story of fate, from Fate, Texas.
“When there was no hope, it was scary. It truly was scary,” Nate’s father, Wes Oxford, said of their medical experiences.
It’s the most devastating news. You’re a parent and are told, on three separate occasions, that your child is going to die.
“The first time we were told three months to live. The next time we were told six months to live,” Wes recalled. “Now we’re being told three weeks to live at one point.”
Nate was nearly three years old when he was diagnosed with terminal brain and spine cancer. Doctors at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas attacked it with heavy doses of chemotherapy.
Five months later the cancer appeared to be gone. Nate’s mother, Jackie Oxford, says her family is ready to do battle. “As long as Nate has the fight in him, we do to. You just keep going.”
The Oxfords had to keep going. You see, less than a month after being cleared, the cancer came back with a vengeance. This time doctors went after the disease with radiation. And wouldn’t you know it, Nate seemed to be in the clear again.
“Even though it would come back, he would bounce back and show us signs that this kid wants to make it,” Wes said of his son.
But, setback number three would deliver the biggest blow. Doctors discovered the cancer had moved into Nate’s hip and pelvis. Then there was yet another death prediction. This time the young boy, now age 4, was given three weeks to live.
While Wes and Jackie felt that doctors at Children’s Medical Center at Dallas did everything they could, time was running out and they had to look for other options.
The family contacted the best children’s hospitals in five major cities. Each time, they were told that nothing could be done. The denials didn’t stop the Oxfords. “Inside we would tell ourselves, until it’s over, it’s not over,” said Wes.
The Oxfords continued going down their list and when they reached Dr. Jonathan Finlay, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, he found that Nate’s older brother, Jake, was a perfect bone marrow match.
But the radical plan would have to almost kill Nate to try and cure him. “His body was literally pushed to nearly death before the transplant,” Jackie said of the massive doses of chemotherapy her son received.
Jake’s healthy bone marrow would then be transplanted into his younger brother. Even Jake, who was nine at the time, knew the stakes were high. “I was worried that it might not work on Nate and there would be nothing else to do for it,” he said.
Not only did it work, but also the healthy bone marrow continues to kill off any remaining cancer cells that chemotherapy treatment missed.
It’s been seven months and Nate Oxford appears to be cancer free and is learning to walk and talk again. All because two parents from Fate refused to let cancer determine their son’s fate.