By Alan Gionet
DENVER (CBS4)– Porter Johnson will dance, play piano, sing, just about anything. He loves his music.
“Music is his jam,” said his mom Sarah. “He is hilarious.”
Porter is a beautiful little boy with a terrifying disease. Too young to understand, he enriches his family with his life.
“It’s hard to see him go through all this,” said Sarah.
We delivered a little show of support to Porter and his moms Sarah and Jen and his brother Aden this morning. Colorado supports them. We are trying to show you there’s more to the people living with cancer in Colorado than the cancer that has become a big part of their lives. I hope that during No Shave November as I raise money and awareness about cancer, I can let you experience their lives a little. We all need to realize there’s more to the people with cancer, than cancer.
Porter’s mom Jen works in an emergency room as an EMT. She knows when something is really wrong. Earlier this year, little Porter was sweating at night. He had a fever for three weeks.
“He was off,” said Sarah.
Jen was trying to figure it out and found many of his apparent symptoms matched leukemia. They put it all together with tests in July.
“We knew it was the last normal weekend we would have,” said Sarah.
It was. Early the next week with his white blood cell count off the charts, their worst fears came true. It was acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
The diagnosis means long-term chemotherapy. Porter is about five months into what it expected to be a 3½ year course. The family has changed to deal with the disease.
As his immune system goes down during treatment, “We stand on top of him with a thermometer,” said Sarah. “It drives him crazy.”
He is just a little boy who wants to be a little boy. The family does as much as they can. When Porter feels good he’s super active. Late this week, he’ll start a very intensive round of chemotherapy.
“They’re going to knock him down,” said Sarah.
Brutal chemo means a social family has limits. They take him to the zoo, but not when it’s busy so there’s less threat of catching anything. Porter loves his older brother and his brother loves him, his moms say.
“It’s kind of made us hermits. I think it’s pretty hard on our eleven year old.”
Sometimes Aden will meet his friends of the front porch rather than letting them in. The risk to his little brother is too great. The family is looking at piles of bills. With years of chemo ahead, they figure the cost at about $20,000 a year.
But they’ve been living too. Porter loves dance classes when he can go. He gets rolling on music and “he doesn’t stop.” He laughs and fill everyone around him with love. That’s just the kind of little guy he is. Porter, we’re with you and your family. Keep dancing.
The family has a donation page to help with their expenses here. This non-profit is matching donations to make yours go further.
Here is a link to my No Shave November site to help fight cancer: