WEYMOUTH, Mass. — A four-year-old cancer survivor who inspired people around the world with his brave battle was given a devastating diagnosis Friday – an MRI had found new disease on his brain.
Quinn Waters – affectionately known as “The Mighty Quinn” – turns five next week, about two years after he was first diagnosed with medulloblastoma.
In 2019, neighbors, Boston Bruins player Charlie Coyle and the band The Dropkick Murphys visited Quinn at a window of his Weymouth home, where he was confined for months during his recovery following brain surgery and cancer treatments.
Quinn’s mother, Tara Waters, told Boston 25 News by Zoom Wednesday just as her son’s immune system rebounded and he was able to leave the house, the coronavirus pandemic hit. Quinn had only recently been able to return to school, but now, as he prepares to fight cancer a second time, he will remain isolated again.
“We’ve told him the cancer is back in his brain, but he doesn’t quite grasp the totality of that circumstance,” Tara Waters said. “He just knows, like, ‘OK, we’re going to go battle these bad guys in my head.’”
Quinn will endure six weeks of radiation and then chemotherapy. The side effects will be hard on his little body, but his family is focused on surviving and finding a cure.
“Our goal here is to keep him as healthy and strong as possible while he’s going through the treatment,” Tara said. “Keep his spirits up so that he wants to fight another day.”
Quinn has remained positive throughout his battle, always smiling and never feeling sorry for himself, his parents said. Tara, her husband Jarlath and Quinn’s big sister Maggie are keeping their heads up, too, hopeful and determined to beat the disease.
“He amazes us every day,” Jarlath said. “Since he was a little kid, since his first diagnosis, you would never know he was sick.”
Meanwhile, the Waters family is urging people to donate desperately needed, life-saving blood and platelets at the Blood Donor Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. A shortage of blood and platelets can delay a child’s chemotherapy treatments.
“There is no reason for these little warriors to be waiting on a transfusion, when all of us are walking around perfectly healthy with these inside of us,” Tara said. “And an hour of our time can mean the difference between life and death with these kids.”
For Quinn, those transfusions did save his life, Tara said.
“We did not realize how important blood donations were until we needed them,” Tara said. “For Quinn, we saw an instant reaction to getting a blood transfusion and getting platelet transfusions. He lost color in his skin, he lost energy, he was lethargic. And as soon as he got the transfusion, it was like a light switch went off, and he was ready to take on another day.”
As friends, family and complete strangers send thousands of messages of support to the family, they say it’s that love that is helping them stay positive.
“As bad as this is, there’s an awful lot of good coming out of it,” Jarlath said. “So, the support has been overwhelming. And it’s gotten our family through before, and it will get us through again.”
Several blood drives have already been organized in Quinn’s name, the family said.
To make an appointment with The Children’s Blood Donor Center or get more information, call 617-355-6677, or visit this site.
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