CAMDEN, Ohio – Instead of chasing soccer balls with his friends this summer, 10-year old Ethan Fields is in a hospital bed fighting lymphoma. His Camden neighbors showed their support for Ethan by donating in his honor at the June 14 Camden Community Blood Drive hosted by the First Southern Baptist Church.
Ethan is in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, recovering from his fifth round of chemotherapy. He’s been putting up a strong fight against diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a common and aggressive cancer that attacks the lymphatic system and the body’s ability to fight infection.
Ethan’s dad Greg Fields and his grandmother Cindy Fields were among the 14 first-time donors at the Camden Community Blood Drive, which totaled 46 registered donors and 35 blood donations.
“Prior to Ethan’s sickness I like many others didn’t realize the importance of giving blood,” said Greg. “I’m plugged in now and that will change in the future. Ethan’s numbers are low so there’s a good chance he’ll receive blood or platelets tonight or tomorrow, so thanks to all who contribute to helping anyone with blood needs.”
Greg gave credit to Angela Taylor for organizing the dedication to Ethan.
“Ethan’s mother Miki and I have been so busy in the hospital we haven’t been able to plan a benefit,” he said. “Angela is a good friend of mine and she said she like to do it. It turned out to be a wonderful thing for a lot of people.”
Angela and family friend Trisha Falk were among those wearing neon-green “Ethan Strong” t-shirt at the blood drive. They feature the Incredible Hulk super hero, and a soccer ball. Ethan plays goalie on his soccer team, and he’s battling disease the way he blocks shots on goal.
“He was diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma back in March,” Greg said about the Ethan’s battle with cancer. “They thought he had something else that had a much worse diagnosis. The non-Hodgkin lymphoma was a positive thing.”
DLBCL is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and is considered potentially curable. Ethan proved to be a fighter. Despite losing clumps of hair to chemotherapy treatments, he stubbornly refused shave the rest.
“Last week we found out he is complete remission, so he is a very luck little guy,” said Greg. “Today is a test day and he is recovering. They count out Day one to Day 10 to see how he’s feeling and where he’s at in therapy. The last two are considered maintenance rounds, so it would be in next 10 days to round six. Our end goal is getting this boy home and enjoying the little bit of summer he has left.”
Ethan hopes to be back with his classmates to begin fifth grade in the fall. “He missed quite a bit of school, but did a lot at Children’s,” said Greg. “He’s still doing stuff to stay fresh mentally.”
It helped boost his spirits to meet other kids fighting blood disease through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ethan has three siblings, including one who will be a freshman at Miami University, where Greg works in the Physical Facilities Department. The interaction with other families has been good for everyone. Community support for the blood drive was also uplifting.
“If everything goes good with the last round he should be returning back to school, maybe even back involved with soccer in the fall,” said Greg. “He’d like to be back on the field. But he’s got a long road to recovery. We’re taking it day by day.”