A 7 year old little boy from Iowa is tackling a big disease: bone cancer. A backpack hangs untouched on Roderick Christian's door because its owner is missing the start of his second grade school year. Roderick, 7, first went to the doctor with pain in his foot. His mother Brandy Christian said doctors recommended sole inserts to fix the problem, but it only grew worse.
"He [the doctor] thought it was fine. He thought he needed arch support. Mind you it was the tumor that was causing it," explained Brandy Christian.
After extensive testing doctors discovered Roderick had osteosarcoma, the sixth most common childhood cancer.
"He's my son. You know? A healthy little boy…he never complained so I knew when something was wrong with him. He was complaining… it was serious," said Brandy Christian.
Roderick's right thigh swelled and now on the advice of his doctors he uses a wheel chair or walker to move around. Brandy said its to avoid injuring or causing any excess pain to that leg.
"You think it's something small. It's really bigger than we expected," said Roderick Christian, Sr., little Roderick's father.
He has already had a first dose of chemo therapy and is in store for several more rounds this fall. After a two week break between doses, Roderick seems active and ready to play with his little brother.
"He encourages me. Oh he's something else!" said a smiling Brandy Christian.
Roderick receives a lot of encouragement as well including a necklace from one of his doctors. The necklace has beads spelling out his name and some with different symbols which can help Roderick tell his story to others.
Brandy said Roderick will need surgery to remove a section of cancer-infected bone in his thigh this November. She added while holding up a doctor's invoice that the medical bills, even with insurance, are already adding up.
"Medical is coming to be your mortgage… a second mortgage," said Brandy.
Roderick keeps fighting and said appreciatively, "thank you to all the people praying for me."
The backpack may sit for a little while longer, as Roderick keeps rolling on to recovery.