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Fayetteville brothers fight cancer

Posted February 7, 2011

— Kathleen Henry's family has been touched by cancer twice. 

The painful journey began two years ago just after her son, Collin, turned 2. 

β€œHe had no energy and then he started getting nose bleeds,” Henry said about her son, Collin. "Then, he started having blood on his lip all the time.”

The Fayetteville mother took him to the hospital and doctors conducted tests. Henry and Collin were at home when the doctor called. 

"He called me and said, 'I need to drive to your house. I need to talk to you,'" she said. 

At the time, Henry's husband was in Iraq with the Army. 

The doctor confirmed what Henry said she already knew - her son had Leukemia, cancer of the bone marrow. 

The diagnosis is still painful for Henry to think about two years later. 

"When I talk about it now, it just feels like an out-of-body experience," she said. 

Collin's father came home from Iraq, as Collin began chemotherapy. 

"It's been really hard. That's (one) of the hardest parts - inflicting that pain on your child, but you know if (you) don't, they will die," Henry said. 

Visit Collin's CaringBridge page for updates on his condition

After a month of chemotherapy, Collin's cancer went into remission and has remained there. Collin, however, still undergoes monthly chemotherapy. 

Last October, Henry noticed a problem with Collin's older brother, 6-year-old Patrick.

"He wasn't crying," Henry said. "He just said, 'My side hurts.'" 

Henry said she felt a lump on Patrick's right side, just below his ribs. "I touched it and he winced," she said. 

She rushed her son to the doctor. 

"It was another out-of-body experience. There's a mass on his liver," she said. 

Patrick was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that originates in the liver. 

"I just knew, right away, I was like, 'Here we go again. One more time,'" Henry said. 

Patrick's cancer was high-risk, which meant he had a 20 percent chance to live, she said. The illness is so rare that it only accounts for about 2 percent of childhood cancers. 

"What now? What else can be thrown at you?" Henry said. 

Soon, Henry began taking Patrick for treatment at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital at UNC, the same place his younger brother was treated. 

The pain of having an IV inserted into his chest for chemotherapy can be unbearable for mother and child. Henry has to restrain Patrick so doctors can get the IV into place. There are tears. 

The treatments have also made Patrick sick. Henry said it has been hard seeing him throw up sometimes 10 times in a day. 

Visit Patrick's CaringBridge page for updates on his condition

Henry's oldest child, Lacey, 9, is healthy. 

Collin Henry Fayetteville siblings fight cancer

North Carolina Cancer Hospital at UNC pediatric oncologist Dr. Stuart Gold said the family's battle with cancer is very rare.

"It's incredibly rare to have two kids with cancer in the same family. There are some types of cancer that do run in the family, but not in these particular areas," he said. 

There is a history of cancer in both parents' families, but geneticists have not been able to definitively cite that as a cause with either child.

Gold said their prognosis is good, and most children beat cancer. 

"We cure about 80 percent of children these days, which I think most people don't realize. So, I'm very certain about both of these children. I think they have a very bright future," he said. 

Henry said she thinks God wants her family to do "something big with childhood cancer." 

Henry said she plans to shave her head next month for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which raises money to fund research into cures for childhood cancers. 


This story is closed for comments.

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  • 2SWEETBOYS Feb 10, 2011

    God Bless these precious children and their families.

  • HowManyOunces Feb 10, 2011

    Cherish every moment! I am thinking of you and your family!

  • hynoats Feb 9, 2011

    WRAL: Why did you filter me asking God to find other ways to "test" us in response to annttah's post?

  • necejack Feb 8, 2011

    my prayers go out for both of these children & this family, stay strong.....

  • lisa4 Feb 8, 2011

    God be with these children and their families. Prayers going up for Collins and Patrick.

  • BEACH Feb 8, 2011

    May God Bless these little boys and their Family. I pray God will heal them. That was such a sad story on Wral I cried the whole time. Thank you Wral for the story, please continue to update the family in the future.

  • tracker Feb 7, 2011

    Prayers and more prayers, for the two little kids and the families that go through these kind of illnesses. May God bless them and heal them...

  • annettah Feb 7, 2011

    Always remember that God is in charge! He allows tests in our lies to strengthen us. But, HE never leaves us or forsakes us if we follow Him! I will be praying for you--prayer does indeed change things. GOD bless you.

  • carolinagirl22fan Feb 7, 2011

    this is so heartbreaking! I couldnt even imagine what the family is going through! keeping the family in my thoughts and prayers!

  • Feisty Redneck Diva - Cowgirl UP Feb 7, 2011

    God bless this entire family, I will keep them in my prayers.