VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Already having gone through a Stage 4 cancer battle once with their oldest son, Liam, the Metz family is now having to repeat the ordeal, sacrificing everything for his care.
On the verge of his 9th birthday, what had been a normal day for Liam returning home from school turned into a nightmare for the family.
“I just remember looking at his hip, and it’s huge on one side — and it was the right side,” said Liam’s mother, Vikki Metz.
Just over a month before that 9th birthday, on June 17 of last year, Liam was diagnosed with Stage 4 femoral bone cancer, and he had an 11 centimeter tumor on the right side of his hip.
Vikki and Liam’s father, Shawn, didn’t panic. They left their day jobs and made it their mission to do everything for Liam by taking him to appointments for treatment, and being there with plenty of love and support. Vikki came up with the #LIAMSTRONG hashtag to showcase Liam’s journey while spreading awareness about the disease.
“It doesn’t matter what treatment we go through,” Shawn Metz said. “It doesn’t matter how many treatments we go through. Nothing is going to stop us from fighting for Liam’s life.”
This past summer, on July 24, he celebrated his 10th birthday, with Liam having already defeated 61 areas of cancer as he looks to eliminate more every day. He is still getting treatment from CHKD in Norfolk, and to pass time, he likes to play video games and stack Lego sets.
“I like playing Minecraft,” Liam said. “It’s my favorite game.”
Even though it hasn’t been easy, Liam has been positive throughout the entire process. He was getting treatment from Sibley Memorial Hospital, where after going through many rounds of chemo, on July 20, 2023, he rang the bell and was able to leave the hospital. He completed his radiation and was cleared by his doctor to go home.
However, the parents said radiation left him with multiple sclerosis in several parts of his body — in his hip, back and rib.
Liam also endured a prosthetic surgery at the beginning of the year to remove his femur bone, a blood transfusion, several PET (positron emission tomography) scans.
He defied the odds by regaining strength in his right leg and worked his way back to walking on his own power.
“They say I couldn’t walk again, but I walked,” Liam said.
However, less than two months after ringing the bell, Vikki and Shawn Metz took their son to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and learned that the tumor had resurfaced in his right leg, and Liam has three new masses in his body. And while Liam has experienced a lot of pain and tough days, he tries to stay strong.
“It was actually kinda of frightening,” Liam said, “and I was starting to get a little nervous and scared. It just felt like I was not ready again to do it because it just got out and then it came back.”
After getting X-rays, the doctors confirmed that the cancer had returned — and he might not have much time left to live.
“His oncologist looked at me and said his chances are very slim,” said Liam’s father, Shawn Metz. “I said, ‘Is it 10%?’ He said no. ‘[Is it] 5%?’ Shook his head no. I said, ‘OK.'”
“At that point, I understood what he was saying, that I was dealing with a terminal disease.”
His parents refuse to give up on their son. They are going to do whatever it takes to get him back to good health.
“We’re not accepting what the doctors are saying,” Vikki Metz said. “We’re still going to go full force.”
The Metz family is still doing activities despite Liam’s battle with cancer, including attending church, going to see the Blue Angels fly at the air show, and even sightseeing at the Jefferson Memorial. He spends a lot of time with his family, and he has two younger siblings, Noah and Ava, who have watched Liam throughout his cancer battle.
“I hope they’re OK,” Liam said. “I feel bad for them sometimes. And I love them.”
Liam has met other kids who are in the exact same position he’s in, and he wants to spread awareness to any other kid in the world who has cancer. September also marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“I believe in you,” Liam said. “I will inspire you, and you are the best, and I hope you live on.”
If you’d like to donate Liam’s GoFundMe page, here’s the link.