Caden James was 4 years old when he began to walk with a limp. "He never really complained about it hurting," said his mother, Julie James. "He was playing T-ball at the time, and the coach would just pick Caden up and carry him around the bases."
But the limp progressed to the point that he stopped walking altogether. After local doctors failed to pinpoint the problem, Caden's parents brought the boy to the emergency department of the OU Medical Center. A CT scan revealed a tumor in his abdomen, later identified as neuroblastoma.
Caden immediately began treatment at the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Children. His pediatric oncologist was Rene Y. McNall-Knapp, M.D.
"He was very fortunate that Dr. McNall was on duty when we were diagnosed," Julie James said. "She's been great. She doesn't sugarcoat anything for you, but she gives you hope."
The family, who live in Hartshorne, steeled themselves for the challenges ahead. To help explain things to Caden, Julie turned to the boy's favorite Bible story. "I told him he was my David, and Goliath was in his stomach," she recalled. "I needed my David to fight Goliath. That's how I approached it."
And just as with that earlier David, faith and determination prevailed. Five months after that initial ER visit and shortly after surgery to remove the tumor, doctors said the cancer was in remission.
That was nearly four years ago. These days, second-grader Caden James is a flurry of activity.
"You can't tell that he's gone through anything," Julie James said. "He plays basketball. He plays baseball. It hasn't affected him in any way."