Travis Gilroy GIST keep believing!

First post: Feb 18, 2020 Latest post: Jun 16, 2021
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place.

As many of you know, Travis was a healthy, active boy who was passionate about baseball, football and being with friends.  He had just turned 9 years old and was playing in travel flag football tournaments with his buddies when he came down with a few back to back viruses.   He became increasingly pale and wasn’t recovering.

By June, we took him to his pediatrician because we were very worried. They ordered multiple blood tests to try to find out what was going on.  The doctor called us that night and said that we needed to get Travis to the hospital as soon as possible for a blood transfusion as his hemoglobin was 5 (normal is around 12).

We rushed him to the hospital where they admitted him and gave him blood transfusions and iron infusions.  After a few days and a hematologist consultation, they discharged him with a hemoglobin of 9 and still had no idea what was causing the issue.  

Over the next year and a half we went to 5 hematologists and 4 GI Physicians in multiple hospitals to try to figure out the cause of his continued severe anemia.  They ran tests upon test and Travis endured so many IVs, blood draws, scans, biopsies, scopes, and infusions, it was heartbreaking.  Every time we went for a test we prayed for the answer so that he could get back to a normal life and not have to endure all of the pain.

When we moved to Seattle for work, we were able to get him into Seattle Children’s with a hematologists who was determined to find the cause.  She swore he was bleeding somewhere and begged the GI team to do a 3rd pill cam where they finally found bleeding in his small intestine.  What started out as relief on our part that we finally found the cause, turned out to be much harder to understand  and and accept.

After additional, focused, scans and an enteroscopy at UW, they found a 5cm tumor growing out of his small intestine.  Travis underwent surgery on January 16th and they were able to extract the entire tumor and reconnect his small intestine.

Sadly, the tumor came back as a very aggressive cancer called a GI Stromal Tumor.  It is a rare sarcoma that occurs in very few children and even fewer males in the small intestine.  They are still trying to figure out the genetic mutations of the tumor so that they know if there are any targeted therapies that could slow progression.  At this time, they have no cure, but will watch him closely and try to surgically remove future tumors as they occur.

It has been a long road and we are praying for a miracle.  Travis is such a sweet, kind, smart and talented young man.  His story is one of amazing fortitude and bravery and we are so thankful for all of the love and support we have.