VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Seven-year-old Xavier Noris — the kid who loves football and making people laugh — was too weak to eat solid food and too weak to participate in a Zoom interview Sunday.
He tried to offer a smile or comment on camera but told his mother he just didn’t feel good.
Xavier has a tumor the size of a grapefruit on his left kidney.
Like many parents with children with a new cancer diagnosis, Henry and Nikysha Noris are asking themselves over and over: “How did we miss this?”
In late January, Nikysha Noris took Xavier to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters after the athletic second-grader complained of stomach pain. She suspected COVID-19 and after testing, doctors confirmed he had been infected with the novel coronavirus.
Within two weeks, he had completely recovered and had no complaints. Then, everything in the family’s world changed on Feb. 16. Xavier spotted blood in his urine and immediately called for his brother, 9-year-old Devyn. Devyn alerted their mother, who immediately sought medical attention. Her son’s primary care provider ordered an ultrasound, spotted a serious problem, and told the family to report to CHKD immediately to be seen by doctors in the oncology unit.
“In literally one day, I found out my son had a tumor, the name of the tumor, and that it was stage three and he got admitted — all in one day,” said Nikysha Noris.
Xavier was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor. According to Cancer.net, a website with information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, about 550 children are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year. The four-year survival rate for certain stage three cases is 95% to 100%.
Nikysha Noris’s husband Henry, a Merchant Marine, was just pulling into port when doctors broke the news that Xavier had cancer. The parents were told surgery to remove the tumor is typically performed as soon as possible. But because the tumor had wrapped around a major artery that delivers blood to the lower body, the tumor could not be surgically removed.
Doctors installed a suprapubic catheter after a blood clot formed in Xavier’s bladder. The treatment protocol includes six weeks of chemotherapy followed by removal of the affected kidney in early April.
WAVY-TV 10 Anchor and Reporter Regina Mobley can relate to how the diagnosis has affected the entire Noris family. In 1989, Mobley’s 14-month old daughter, Renee, was diagnosed with a rare stage three tumor. The tumor, the size of a lemon, was inoperable and could only be attacked by chemotherapy. After a few months of treatment at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Renee’s tumor vanished without a trace. Renee, a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate, is now 33 years old.
Nikysha Noris, who in the past has hosted lemonade stands to raise money for children at CHKD, is now spending days and nights at the hospital watching over her son. She is grateful for the care and attention offered by doctors and other professionals at CHKD.
“When they use words like ‘We are going to fight this together to be OK,’ I knew at that point they took on my son as one of theirs,” said Nikysha Noris.
There’s more help in the fight. Members of the Noris’ church family at World Harvest Kingdom Church in Newport News have sponsored a cancer awareness march set for Saturday morning at Oak Grove Park in Chesapeake.
Organizer Donte Davis has also established a Facebook support page where he asks that you walk in honor of Xavier and an image on the page.
Additionally, he has established a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses associated with Xavier’s care.
“We have strangers who are tagging run for Xavier or ‘run for X.’ The outpouring of support from people we didn’t know is truly appreciated,” Davis said.