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Tampa Bay area mom raises awareness after son's cancer relapse

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Posted at 9:15 PM, Oct 22, 2021

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — According to St. Jude's cancer research, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), is the most common type of childhood cancer.

And for nine-year-old Maddox and his mom Candice Arno, it's a diagnosis they've had to hear not once, but twice.

"He's so upset and sad. And he hates his life and I'm really scared that he's gonna give up," said Candice.

Maddox was first diagnosed in 2019 when he was six. His mom said it started with persistent back pain and a fall at school.

"He's been so strong and so brave throughout everything, just letting the doctors and nurses do what they needed to do," said Candice.

After more than two years of chemo and other treatments, in August, he was listed as "in remission." But then, the pain came back, which led to a life-changing doctor's visit.

"He says 'I think his disease is back.' And I had to leave the room," said Candice.

Further research from St. Jude's, this only happens in about 15 percent of ALL cases. And this time, Maddox's cancer requires more specific treatment.

"He's going to need a bone marrow transplant in a couple of months once they get him back into remission," said Candice.

Candice says she wants to share Maddox's story and relapse journey so more people will learn about ALL. Longterm, she hopes to see more funding being used to research the disease. But in the short term, she says everyday people can help young cancer patients by signing up to be bone marrow donors and more.

"Spread awareness and when you see that one blood bus, take that thirty to sixty minutes to go donate a pint of blood if you can," she said.

And as they fight to get Maddox back into remission, she leaves a message for other parents in the same boat.

"Be there for your child. Make sure your other kids are involved because it affects them too. And just try to keep your chin up and just pray," she said.

Candice also has a Facebook page where you can track Maddox's progress, or send cards and donations.