By Kathy Walsh

PARKER, Colo. (CBS4)– A kindergartner from Parker is spending nearly a year fighting a rare cancer. Still, he is a lucky little boy. By chance, his mother discovered the tumor in its early stages.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh met Brenden Woodward when he was relaxing with his ‘woof-woofs’ (what he calls his two stuffed animal dogs) after chemotherapy. His cheek was red from radiation.

Brenden Woodward (credit: CBS)

Five days this particular week, the 5-year-old will get that double whammy. And this is just week seven of 42 weeks of cancer treatment.

“A lot of crying, shock, denial for sure,” explained Brenden’s mother, Shashanah Woodward.

Shashanah Woodward (credit: CBS)

Shashanah says, on Aug. 24, she ran out of the kids’ stick sunscreen and was applying lotion on Brenden when she felt a bump.

“I’m like ‘Brenden what’s on your face?’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know,'” said Shashanah.

Brenden Woodward (credit: Woodward family)

Days later, the little boy was in for a biopsy. The tumor was rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the muscle tissue .

“It was only right there and that’s a good finding,” said Dr. Brad Ball, pediatric oncologist at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC).

Dr. Brad Ball, pediatric oncologist at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (credit: CBS)

Ball says the tumor was the size of a half dollar, but you couldn’t see it.

“It’s just one of those things that you’re like ‘I am so glad you ran out of sunscreen,'” said Ball.

“We’re really lucky, we caught it early,” said Shashanah. “All my friends, all of the doctors we talk to, they go home and they check their kids.”

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh interviews Shashanah Woodward (credit: CBS)

Brenden’s treatment is aggressive. His prognosis is good. His nurses at RMHC decorated a wagon for the little train lover. His mom and his stuffed pups keep him on track, chugging along as normally as possible, one day at a time.

Brenden Woodward (credit: CBS)

There are some valuable things to learn from Brenden’s story. Cancerous lumps aren’t always visible, so occasionally inspect your kids. If you find something unusual, get it checked by a doctor.

Brenden Woodward (credit: CBS)

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.


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