Weatherford Democrat

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August 9, 2012

Mom goes bald to raise awareness, funds for cancer research

WEATHERFORD — Jessica Reeves is a one woman show when it comes to cancer information.

She is a relative newcomer to the dreaded disease after her son Lucas, now 5, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer that attacks the nervous system, two 1/2 years ago. Her most outward symbol of how cancer has changed her is her recently shaved head, which she had done July 29 in Hollywood as part of a national campaign called “Shave for the Brave.”

She even has a button that reads “Ask me why I’m bald” as another way of demonstrating her support.

The diagnosis

She remembered the day Lucas was diagnosed.

“February 25, 2010,” Reeves said without blinking an eye or flinching when asked the date. “I was very scared at that point.”

Lucas had seen three different doctors and was told he was suffering from allergies, despite bruising above his eyelid, a marble size piece of skin on the side of the head and his eyeball being pushed out. The cancer reached stage 4 in just three weeks time, had worked its way around the optic nerve and was pushing the eyeball so far it was protruding outward, Reeves said. The bruising had doctors asking and believing it may have been a case of child abuse.

With Reeves denying child abuse, she went back home twice, getting more frustrated by the day. Reeves said she had asked the doctors to draw some blood but was told it was rare to draw blood for such a young person. She still refused to push the issue, thinking the doctors knew what they were talking about.

“I was too scared to speak up,” Reeves said. “I knew it wasn’t child abuse but they just kept asking.”

As things began to get progressively worse, Reeves took her son to seek medical help a third time, this time going to Weatherford Regional Medical Center. It was Dr. Ness Kahn who may have saved the boy’s life.

“He took one look at Lucas and sent him to Cook (Children’s Medical Center),” Reeves said. “As we were on our way there, ambulance personnel said he had lost half of his blood volume and probably wouldn’t have made it another few days at home.”

At Cook, Reeves said she was still dealing with doctors and nurses trying to trick her into admitting it was a case of child abuse.

“They were asking me about exact dates of when things started,” Reeves said. “I was so distraught about my son I couldn’t remember exact dates. I was scared they were going to take me to jail.”

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