This may be Pooch's first Caring Bridge site, but unfortunately, it is not his first battle with cancer. That first war, waged in 1995 when the Internet was in it's infancy, saw an energetic and upbeat 8 year old boy emerge victorious over Burkitt's Lymphoma following a year of mostly experimental treatment at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Only someone with Pooch's unique gifts and spirit could have turned that sort of personal tragedy into absolute triumph. Facing and fighting cancer with a rare smile and positivity led to Pooch receiving the honor of designing the MACC Fund Star Ornament in 1995. A year spent receiving chemotherapy from some of the best pediatricians on the planet was balanced by making personal impacts on the likes of Ernest Borgnine, Bon Jovi, Bart Starr, Jon McGlocklin, and every other athlete and celebrity that was lucky enough to meet Pooch.
24 years and two beautiful boys (MJ and Jacob) he wasn't supposed to have later, much has changed. Burkitt's Lymphoma now has a survival rate above 85% and Pooch is being treated with drugs he participated in the clinical trials for while at Children's Hospital. Genetic testing, primitive in 1995, confirmed earlier this month that Pooch has a rare genetic mutation that makes him pre-disposed to cancer. His current tumor, a large high grade sarcoma growing around his esophagus between his heart and spine, started by causing back and stomach pain in November of 2018. When early medical treatment didn't find or address the problem, Pooch visited Bellin Hospital in Green Bay. In mid-February, during an MRI, the technician noticed a hernia above the intended scan area and decided to take some pictures of it. In doing so, the technician made an accidental finding of the tumor causing Pooch's pain.
After initial treatment consultation at Bellin, Pooch was transported to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee on 4/4. In more than a bit of irony, his room in the Center for Advanced Care building has a big window with a beautiful view across the street...looking directly at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Pooch is scheduled for tumor surgery on Monday, April 8th at Froedtert. Pooch and his family truly appreciate all the support he has received, be it 1995 or 2019.