Chandler Tran: 8-yr-old boy tragically dies at home seven months after being diagnosed with rare bone cancer
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: The family of an eight-year-old child who lost his leg to a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer broke the heartbreaking news that their son died at home. Chandler Tran was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in April. His father Cong Tran said that even while Chandler lay in pain and suffering, he was more concerned about making sure his family was alright when he died.
After months of chemotherapy and surgery, during which he lost one of his legs, Chandler's family announced that their Lego-obsessed son had died. “Chandler chose to leave us peacefully in his sleep at 2 am on Friday, November 25,” his family said in a statement. “He waited until everyone had come to say their goodbyes for the day, and then for mummy to go to sleep before taking his final little breath. We already miss him so much.”
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Chandler's family claimed that by checking on everyone else before leaving them, he had remained true to the boy they all knew and loved. “Fly high little angel and may you rest in peace.”
Chandler began limping around their Sydney house on Good Friday, and that's when Cong and Trang first discovered the lump below his left kneecap. “It was probably the size of a pea, but it was quite firm,” Cong told Daily Mail. "We thought he must have bumped his knee or his shin on something but he told us that nothing had happened. I had a feel of it and it was quite firm but it wasn't causing him much pain other than when I was poking it so we thought let's sleep on it and see if anything changes overnight."
The following day, Chandler was still in a lot of pain from the bump, so the family went to the emergency room at Fairfield Hospital to get an X-ray and MRI. “They took an X-ray, and came back with nothing,” Cong said, adding the medical staff recommended further testing elsewhere.
“So they gave us some painkillers, and we went home.”
On May 4, the results came back, confirming their greatest fears that Chandler had bone cancer in his leg. “It was May 4, Star Wars Day ... they said, ‘Look, we got the results of everything … your son’s been diagnosed with osteosarcoma’.” Doctors informed Cong that it was quite unusual for someone as young as Chandler, who was only seven at the time, to be diagnosed with it. However, the fact that the disease had spread from his leg was the most alarming. Large tumors and fluid were identified in his lungs during scans.
“That really, really worried us ... because once it’s spread, it would make things very much more difficult,” Cong said. “But it didn’t take us long to just switch our minds off that and just focus on what we have to do to get him through this.” To treat Chandler's malignancy, the hospital suggested an aggressive treatment plan that included 29 weeks of chemotherapy and surgery. “That hospital ward became his home,” Cong said. “The nurses knew pretty much everything about him.”
Even after chemotherapy treatments, the cancer continued to spread and the family had no choice but to take the decision to amputate Chandler's leg above the knee. However, scans taken a week or so after the leg was amputated revealed that cancer had advanced and his lungs and his condition continued to deteriorate. "We had a meeting with the doctors and it was at that point where we all agreed there was no point doing any further treatment for the cancer as it had progressed too far in the lungs. They told us there was nothing more they could do."
The choice to stop treatment in October meant Chandler wouldn't have to endure any more medical procedures, according to Mr Tran. He has experienced numerous setbacks after being home and over the course of the following three weeks, he had to repeatedly go back to the hospital. Since stopping the treatment, Chandler's family has been focusing on spending time with him and spreading awareness of osteosarcoma, according to Mr Tran.
"The main thing is awareness about osteosarcoma in general, "Mr Tran said. "Ninety-nine per cent of people think of leukemia when a kid has cancer but more education and awareness needs to be done about osteosarcoma. We want to share Chandler's story with the world, to anyone willing to listen."