PHOENIX - A strong 2-year-old Phoenix boy is battling a rare form of cancer at Phoenix's Children's Hospital, and at first, the family assumed COVID-19 was causing the symptoms.
Mack Porter’s breathing was the main concern, which is why the family just assumed that Mack has fell victim to the ongoing pandemic.
Just before Christmas, Mack started to breathe a little weird. His parents, Dani and Ty, tested positive for COVID-19 at the same time, so they thought they had the answer.
"I still, in my gut, was like something is wrong," said Dani.
They had blood work ordered, but everything was fine until Mack woke up really struggling in late January, and had a chest X-Ray.
"While the tech was taking the pictures, she just all of sudden said 'oh no,'" said Dani.
Seconds later, the doctor came in.
"He walked up to my son Mack, and he just put his hand on his cheek and said 'I’m so sorry, buddy,' and then, he looked at me and said we have to have a hard talk," said Dani.
It would take a team of experts 10 days to diagnosis the type of cancer Mack has as Stage 3 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. Meanwhile, Visitation rules around the pandemic made the news harder.
"I couldn’t see my husband, and he couldn’t see his dad, and my husband couldn’t see his baby as he’s learning all these things, and that part's really hard," said Dani.
As Mack begins chemo for the tumor in his lungs and lesions on some bones, his parents have spread the 'MackyStrong' message, as he is showing strength that is hard to fathom, like leaving his bed for the first time in a week after hours of physical therapy, so he could look at the Phoenix horizon.
"I was equally proud of him and heartbroken at the exact same time," said Dani.
It’s these moments that show us even a 2-year-old can have the strength of a dinosaur.
For Mack, the youngest of four kids, chemotherapy treatment started on Feb. 8. The family, meanwhile, is hoping for good news when the second round of chemotherapy ends, and new scans are done.
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