YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - Cancer is the last thing a child should have to worry about, but the disease is a reality for many like the Pak family.
The Paks know the burden of the disease well, but they got to celebrate a special moment this week when their son, Wes, went to school for the first time. Wes, 6, was homeschooled as he fought stage four high-risk Neuroblastoma.
"He has gone through eight cycles of chemotherapy, 14 rounds of radiation, four surgeries, five rounds of 3F8 and accutane," Wes' mother Krista Pak said.
Neuroblastoma is cancer of the nervous system. Wes was diagnosed in June 2011, at the age of five. Since then, he has been in treatment and his parents have not left his side.
"Wes had a 55 to 70 percent chance of survival," Krista Pak said. "And most kids with high-risk stage four Neuroblastoma are under 40 percent. So Wes is one of the lucky ones, a lot of people would say."
After a year and a half of treatment, including a 10 hour surgery that removed a large tumor from his abdomen, Wes is considered N.E.D., which stands for "No Evidence of Disease." Wes is finally strong enough to go to first grade at York County Schools.
Krista Pak says seeing Wes ride the bus for the first time was a miracle.
"This was a good experience," Krista Pak said. "This is one of the things where we can say, this was an encouraging day for us. I mean this is where Wes won."
Pak says she can't help but feel paranoid that Wes' cancer will return. She says he can relapse at any time.
"The future is in God's hands because we live moment to moment," she said.
You can learn more about Wes and his battle with cancer by checking out the website his family has started. You can also follow his journey on Facebook and get involved locally.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. According to the St. Baldrick's Foundation , a charity committed to funding research for childhood cancer, very little federal funding goes toward research.
As Krista Pak says about the disease, "It can happen to anybody and it happens every single day."
Here are more websites that focus on childhood cancer:
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