When Jen and Will Fox remember their son Dalton, they think about his infectious smile, his passion for adventures, and his absolute adoration of baseball. Dalton, who was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma at nine years old, passed away at 12. Instead of remembering the multiple rounds of chemotherapy or his left leg amputation that Dalton underwent, his parents honor his memory and spirit through advocacy, awareness, and fundraising.
Dalton first experienced pain in his left leg during a game of baseball. Months later, doctors discovered Ewing sarcoma in his upper left tibia. In 2019, Dalton’s left leg was amputated above the knee; he was declared cancer-free in February 2020. But just months later, Dalton complained of chest pain and testing showed that his cancer had actually metastasized. Dalton passed away in May 2021.
According to an article in Wavy, Dalton’s parents founded the D-Feet Cancer – The Dalton Fox Foundation to remember Dalton — and to “D-Feet childhood bone cancer.” Currently, only 4% of federal money is granted to pediatric cancer research. The Foundation aims to raise and fund research into targeted treatments and therapies for Ewing sarcoma.
So far, in 2023, D-Feet Cancer sponsored a dodgeball tournament in Virginia Beach, as well as a 22-mile run to celebrate Dalton’s thirteenth birthday. Money raised will be granted via a $100,000 grant to fund the Empowering Pediatric Immunotherapies for Childhood Cancer (EPICC) Team. D-Feet partnered with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which thought this research was important but didn’t have available funding to support it. As the D-Feet website explains:
As an EPICC team partner institution, the University of Pittsburgh is researching ways to specifically target Ewing Sarcoma cell surface receptors. If successful, this specific targeting could lead to treatments that kill Ewing Sarcoma cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
The D-Feet Foundation is holding a number of other events throughout 2023. To learn more, or take part, check out the D-Feet Foundation Events Calendar.
A Brief Overview of Ewing Sarcoma
Ewing sarcoma, part of the Ewing family of tumors, is a rare and aggressive cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue. This cancer most often begins in leg bones or pelvis, although it may occur in any bone. Additionally, in rarer cases, Ewing sarcoma may begin in soft tissues in the chest, abdomen, or limbs. Ewing sarcoma is most common in children and adolescents; it is also more common in males than females. Symptoms related to this cancer can include:
- A soft or warm lump in the arms, legs, chest, or pelvis
- Fever with no known cause
- Bone pain
- Unexplained fatigue
- Unintentional weight loss
- Bone fractures with no known cause
- Localized tenderness and inflammation
Typically, treatment for Ewing sarcoma includes chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. Additional drugs are being examined in clinical studies.