5-year-old battling leukemia starts fund to support families at - KPTV - FOX 12

5-year-old battling leukemia starts fund to support families at Randall Children's Hospital

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Declan with his mom Lauren at Randall Children's Hospital (KPTV) Declan with his mom Lauren at Randall Children's Hospital (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A five-year-old boy battling not just one, but two cancers, is now doing all that he can to support others, with help from his family.

There's an obvious theme in Declan's room. One that showcases his not so subtle love of dinosaurs.

"He's a rockin' and rolling 5-year-old boy who is tearing apart the house constantly," said mom Lauren Reagan.

A five-year-old bundle of energy that seems to be an unstoppable force despite a life-threatening diagnosis that came last year.

"Declan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of leukemia. Two days later we were in the hospital. In total he had four rounds of chemo and spent 105 days in the hospital," Lauren added.

During that time, Declan and his family practically lived at Randall Children's Hospital. Still, he made the most of a difficult situation.

"He has a dino costume and he'd run in the hallways and another little boy saw him and was like 'a dino!' and then he learned his name and he's like 'Declan the Dino' and it just stuck with the nurses too," said Lauren.

The five-year-old was later cleared to go home and considered to be in remission. As he left the hospital, his family felt compelled to do something to help the other patients' families who were unable to do the same.

"How do you go from living in hospital for four plus months, flipping your entire life upside down, to walking away and never doing anything else," asked Lauren.

So, the family created a hope fund to support other patients and families in the cancer wing. They called it Declan the Dinosaur.

"We started fundraising and thinking about how to help other oncology families, we give them financial support, things like grocery gift cards, gas cards, you know anything we can do to make this world a little bit more fun for them," Lauren said.

With help from the community, Declan the Dinosaur funded new iPad programs to distract kids during chemo treatments and purchased specialized wooden lily pad platforms that fit on the bottom of IV poles.

Kids can sit, or stand on them and move around the hospital without affecting their treatment. The lily pads were designed by a Washington teen who died from the same cancer as Declan's.

"His mother, continuing on in his memory, is making them for kids across the country," said Lauren. "So, with a small donation she sent the patterns and plans to us and a few coworkers and I went and spent the day painting them all, they're gorgeous."

But now, the little boy and his family, are so determined to help others once in their shoes, suddenly find themselves back where they never hoped to be.

"It's devastating," said Lauren.

Not only did Declan's cancer come back this year, but doctors say a second cancer was also growing too.

"He has T-cell lymphoma now, he's five and battling two cancers now at the same time. Declan himself has had 91 doses of chemotherapy in a 12-month period," Lauren said.

Family says miraculously, both cancers were just recently considered to be in remission, but Declan now needs a bone marrow transplant.

"With my husband being a police officer, our blue family stepped in, other police officer's wives are reaching out asking what they can do to help and keep Declan the Dinosaur going. There's multiple fundraisers going on, it's amazing to see how much people reach out," said Lauren. "We are getting emails from officers all over the country."

Support the family feels, while they wait and hope.

"It's a lot for a little person to take, but he's all of our heroes and inspiration," said Lauren.

Declan and his family are now also working with Be the Match, a national non-profit marrow donor program. Declan has the goal of signing 430 people up this year and they're currently at 190.

For more information, Be the Match visit: https://bethematch.org/

For more information about Declan the Dinosaur visit: http://www.acco.org/declan/

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