GA boy receives final dose of chemo after 5 years of treatment
A Flowery Branch boy received his final chemotherapy treatment this month after more than five years of battling cancer.
Robert Hart, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December of 2010, had his last dose of chemo on Saturday, April 16, which totaled to 1,953 days of chemotherapy.
Ahead of his final chemo session, Robert's mother Kasie Hart told us her son has endured weekly trips to the hospital clinic and the treatments have caused a lot of side effects, including Avascular Necrosis of the Knee (AVN), which is also known as osteonecrosis. It's a condition that results when blood flow to the bone is reduced or stopped.
"This has happened due to prolonged use of steroids. An uncommon side effect," Hart said on Facebook in December.
The AVN diagnosis has forced Robert to be wheelchair bound until his legs can get better.
"He still has a long road ahead as he's dealing with a damaged liver and bone necrosis from the years of chemo," Hart said. "But we are just happy to have one small part of this almost behind us."
Hart said on Facebook the next few years are when Robert will be at the highest risk for another relapse.
"That is why we simply call him 'off treatment.' We do not call him cured until he hits 5 years off treatment with no detectable cancer cells, so please do not use that word until April 17, 2021," she said.
Hart told FOX 5 Robert has an excessive amount of iron in his system, much of which causes harm to his liver.
"He definitely has a long way to go and is nowhere near out of the woods," Hart said.
Robert will eventually begin getting phlebotomy treatments in an attempt to get the iron out of his blood.
"We may have taken chemo out of the equation but it certainly hasn't slowed us down a bit. To be honest, being off of chemo only makes us nervous and terrified that his body won't do what it should and those cancer cells will creep back in."
FOX 5 first learned about Robert's story through photographer Brandy Angel, who has created a non-profit organization to help those in need by sharing their images and stories via social media.
"Robert has a big heart who cares about everyone else. I don't know what his future holds, but I do expect great things from this boy," his mother said last year.
Hart told us they don't have a GoFundMe account, but people can donate to CURE Childhood Cancer or the Rally Foundation in Robert's honor. Please keep "Robert The Great" in your thoughts and prayers! To learn more about his fight against cancer, click here.