Brock’s Fight to Win against Childhood Cancer

Meet Brock, a spunky four year old who is battling Cic-Dux4  Fusion Sarcoma Cancer of the brain. He was diagnosed in April 2023 after experiencing two episode of bad headaches. His mother Melissa tells Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), an MRI revealed the tumor and he underwent emergency brain surgery the next morning.

The operation did not mean it was the end of his fight and Brock is continuing to battle this disease like the superhero he is. That’s not to say he has not needed some help from his sidekicks to get through it. Of course, some of those sidekicks are his parents, two siblings and friends. We are also talking about another group of elite superhero sidekicks-blood donors.

During his fight with cancer, Brock has gone under intensive treatment including 14 rounds of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation. This is where blood donors come in.

Cancer patients often need to receive transfusions to help with some of the complications that may arise during their cancer treatment and Brock is no different. He has received nine whole blood transfusions and seven platelet transfusions over the course of his treatment.

“Those transfusions helped his body recover faster and the blood transfusions especially made him have more energy and color in his faced when his hemoglobin was low” said mom Melissa.

25% of this nation’s blood supply is used to help cancer patients and RIBC provides nearly 2,000 units of blood to Hasbro Children’s Hospital each year to help patients like Brock.

Melissa tells us that these transfusions have allowed Brock to continue being a kid even though his life looks a little different after his diagnosis.

“His favorite things are superhero’s especially Spiderman, Ghost Spider and Miles Moralas.  He loves playing outside, swimming in his pool, camping, riding his balance bike and playgrounds.”

Melissa tells RIBC that this journey at times has been difficult but they have been able to navigate it with the help of The Tomorrow Fund. This special Rhode Island based organization helps families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.

“Brock’s team is out of The Tomorrow Fund. They have been FANTASTIC! Their doctors, nurses, and staff are amazing.  They have given us so much hope and love along the way as well.”

Brock’s story is a reminder that everyone has the ability to be a superhero to someone in our community as one in three people will need blood at some point in their life. Melissa tells RIBC she never thought it would someday be her child or someone she knew in general but is grateful blood was available to help her son.

“Before Brock was diagnosed with cancer, I was naive to WHO received blood transfusions. In my head, I always figured it was a patient who maybe had an emergency during surgery or who was in a bad accident and needed blood as soon as possible.  I never realized children (and adults) who were undergoing chemotherapy needed transfusions.”   

On average, just 3% of the population donates but over 60% is eligible to. If we could increase that by just 1%, we could end blood shortages locally and nationally.

“Every time he would get a transfusion, I would just think to myself, how grateful I was for the donors who could play a part in making Brock’s body heal more quickly.”

Donating whole blood takes less than an hour of your time and you can donate every 56 days (8 weeks). Platelets take around 2 hours but this very special product is a lifeline to so many patients like Brock. It is called liquid gold for a reason and superhero patients need this to help in their fight. Platelets have a very short shelf life of 5 to 7 days but you can donate every two weeks.

Locally and nationally, the blood supply is still struggling from the effects of the pandemic. Youth donations have declined by 50% and the change in peoples work schedule with the hybrid model is affecting corporate blood drives.

However, the need for blood is constant and patients like Brock rely on volunteer blood donors to receive their lifesaving treatment. RIBC is urging everyone to donate at least once a season in 2024 to help maintain a stable supply so we can continue our lifesaving mission for the patients and hospitals we serve. You too can be a superhero like Brock.