Twelve-Year-Old Brain Cancer Survivor is Back on The Ice

According to a story from fosters.com, a twelve year old boy that survived a battle with brain cancer has begun playing ice hockey, his favorite sport, once again. Levi Whitcomb initially received surgery for the tumor back in 2015. However, in order to ensure the destruction of his cancer, he received several bouts of chemotherapy.
Most children with brain cancer have a type known as medullablastoma, a type of cancer the typically originates at the rear and lower area of the brain. This type of brain cancer often spreads to other areas of the brain as well as long the brain stem and spinal cord. Five year survival rate for this type of cancer is 69 percent overall, although children tend to fare better. The twenty year survival rate is 51 percent, which is indicative of this cancer’s ability to relapse after long periods. Symptoms include a headache, especially in the morning, frequent vomiting episodes, clumsiness and abnormal gait, and problems with movement. To learn more about brain cancer that affects children, click here.

For Levi, beating his brain cancer came at great cost. He missed substantial school time for his fourth, fifth, and sixth grade years. In addition, treatment side effects from surgery and chemotherapy have had effects on his cognitive and physical development. The surgery required Levi to be placed in a medically induced coma, which meant that he had to relearn basic tasks like talking, walking, and eating.

Ice hockey is not the only sport that Levi loves. He has also returned to playing soccer and lacrosse, but the return to hockey has a more significant meaning for him, and represents a return to normalcy. While his physical therapist was a bit hesitant at first, Levi believes that playing again has helped him regain his balance, and he feels stronger and more confident off the rink.

The boy’s mother, Jennifer Pepin, said that the coaches spent a lot of time getting a sense of what Levi’s capabilities were. Board members of the Denver Youth Hockey Association presented Levi with a new hockey stick. Board member Jeremy Forest says that Levi’s return to the sport after years of recovery is a prime example of hard work, a positive attitude, and perseverance.

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