On March 4, 2008, the Vampran family received the news that would forever change their lives. Parents Mark and Pam Vampran were told their 15-year-old son, Trevor, had Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, or AML.
There are two types of leukemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL, which has a higher percentage cure rate, and AML, which has a lower percentage cure rate and is very aggressive.
Mother Pam remembers Trevor’s pediatrician telling them the news about Trevor’s leukemia being “not the good one.”
Trevor and his mom arrived at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital early March 2008, where Trevor began undergoing chemotherapy and full-body radiation.
However, because the chemotherapy wasn’t as effective as the doctors had hoped, Trevor received a bone marrow transplant on June 13, 2008.
“The transplant put him in remission,” Pam explained. “The donor was a non-related person with a different blood type though, so Trevor’s blood type changed as well. The doctors don’t want his cells to pop back up because then the cancer could come back.”
Today, Trevor is 5 years cancer-free.
“He’s had a lot of issues though,” Pam said. “He’s had two knee surgeries, hip surgery, and he just had his wisdom teeth removed and ended up in ICU.”
“Any time his body goes through anything invasive,” Pam explained, “his cells kick in and try to fight against the donor cells. His doctors have said he will not have any more surgeries.”
Pam and Trevor lived in Memphis for about 18 months, and Trevor went from March until September before he came home for the first time.
“My husband, Mark, was pulled in three different directions, with work, and my youngest son, Travis, and coming up to Memphis to be with Trevor,” Pam said.
Team Trevor was started within days of Trevor’s diagnosis with friends of the family getting bumper stickers and t-shirts made.
“I needed something to take my mind off everything,” Pam commented. “I needed to stay busy.”
Two blood drives were organized that collected 200 units of blood. Since then, Team Trevor has participated in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon and Relay for Life.
Recently, Team Trevor held a raffle with the prize being a hot air balloon ride at the 2013 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship scheduled for next week, from September 27-29. The raffle raised $5,500 and, along with $500 from the 10% proceeds fundraiser Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill in Denham Springs held, the money went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Every penny we have ever raised went to St. Jude,” Pam said.
This September, in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Pam is spotlighting a child with cancer every day, those who have lost and won their battles.
“Our goal is not to pay St. Jude back for Trevor’s treatments,” Pam explained, “but to pay it forward for a cure. There is no place like St. Jude. They made themselves available to us 24 hours a day.”
Pam especially revered Dr. Sara Federico.
“Sara is more than a doctor. She is a friend,” Pam explained. “Sara has saved Trevor’s life more than once and saved my sanity more than once. Good new or bad news, I still prefer to hear it from her.”
Today, Trevor is a 20-year-old sophomore—almost a junior—at Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in Communications. He was able to graduate from St. Amant High School with his class, though he hasn’t spent more than 6 months at a time away from St. Jude since his diagnosis. He still enjoys the outdoors, especially kayaking and hiking.
Trevor was also part of the group who held the first Relay for Life at Southeastern last spring. He’s been named the Subway National High School Hero and a Louisiana Young Hero, and he also serves in a big brother role to all the younger kids at St. Jude.
“Trevor’s odds were against him,” Pam said. “He wasn’t supposed to live, and he’s become an inspiration to a lot of people.”
St. Jude will continue to monitor Trevor very closely for at least the next five years.
You can also follow Pam on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stjudemompam.