Meet Our Hero: Joey Mazzucco
Child's condition: Ewing's Sarcoma
Age: 9 (May 8, 2002)
Like most nine-year-old boys, Joey loves to swim. It was in the pool in June 2009 that he first began feeling pain in his right shoulder. Being such an active boy, Joey's mother Maria assumed it was an injury from one of Joey's karate lessons or other activities. It wasn't until he developed a fever in August that she knew something was wrong.
Doctors initially assumed that Joey had torn his rotator cuff, but a trip to The Hospital for Sick Children in September showed that Joey had Ewing's sarcoma; a rare form of bone cancer usually found in adolescents. Though the diagnosis was daunting, Maria was never worried for her son's care. “That first night in the hospital, I never felt so safe,” she says. "The doctors put us at ease".
Because of the aggressive nature of the cancer, Joey began chemotherapy treatments right away. While most children his age were beginning second grade, Joey was enduring countless tests and experiencing numerous side effects to his medications. In only a few months, he lost twenty-five pounds on his small frame and was prone to high fevers. Because of the rapid weight loss he was hooked up to a feeding tube for two months. Still, Joey kept smiling and remained brave.
Nearly a year after Joey began feeling pain in his shoulder; he has now completed his last round of chemo treatment and is back at home. He is able to return to swimming this summer with his cousins and younger brother but will still have to visit SickKids regularly to ensure that his aggressive cancer is under control. One of his latest hobbies is break dancing.