His left femur, or thigh bone, broke in what should have been just a minor mishap, and it led doctors to do further tests. What they found was every parent’s worst nightmare: cancer.
A golf-ball sized tumor is growing just above Evin’s knee and the devastating diagnosis his parents, Maitland and Marilyn Muse of Sparta, received is that Evin has bone cancer, known as osteosarcoma.
Evin was set to enter fourth grade at the Helen Morgan School in the fall but will not be able to start school with his classmates. He will not play sports or take part in the usual get-togethers with his friends. For the next few months, Evin will have to undergo the biggest battle of his young life.
What’s next for Evin?
Evin is now in a partial body cast designed to protect his other bones. The treatment protocol for this type of cancer involves attempting to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy to get it to an operable size in an effort to save the affected limb. On Aug. 1, Evin had surgery to install a chemotherapy port and the treatment began last week. His mother said he had a very rough time of it but will now have two weeks off from chemotherapy before starting a once a week regimen for the next five weeks. He is being treated at the Valerie Fund Children’s Center of the Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center.
No early symptoms
Prior to the trampoline incident, Evin, who has been an active and athletic boy all his life, had no symptoms or any indications that anything was wrong with his leg. He played on the Sparta youth football league for the past five seasons and also played basketball and soccer. His mother said that he recently complained of some occasional minor achiness, but doctors attributed this to his high activity level or to the normal ‘growing pains’ many children experience.
Friends and community rally to help family
Family friend, Theresa Pedernera said, “This family needs the support and the embrace of the entire community as they battle this incredible disease that has invaded their lives.”
She said Evin’s parents will not be able to keep regular work schedules in the coming months as they care for Evin and travel to Morristown. They have two older sons who do not live at home but also have two daughters ( Taylor, 6th grade and Mia, 8th grade) to care for at home. Pedernera said with less income and looming medical expenses that will surely exceed their insurance coverage, the family will need the help and support of friends.
‘Benefit of Love’ planned for Oct. 7 at the Mohawk House
Steve and Rachel Scro, owners of the Mohawk House restaurant, have offered to host a fundraiser at their restaurant for Evin and his family. The event will take place on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature food, music, beer, and wine. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at www.evinmuse.org. Pedernera said she hopes the community will attend with their whole families to show their love for Evin and to offer their encouragement and support for his family. A flyer for the event can be downloaded from the website.
What is osteosarcoma?
According to the American Cancer Society web site, Osteosarcoma is the most common type of cancer that starts in the bone. Most osteosarcomas happen in children and young adults, but it can happen at any age. Like other cancers, osteosarcoma can spread beyond the bone into nearby tissues.
Osteosarcoma often starts near the ends of the long bones in the legs, especially in the femur, or part of the thigh bone next to the knee, and the tibia, or the part of the lower leg bone next to the knee. When this cancer starts in the bone cells, the cancer-filled bone is not as strong as normal bones. This is why Evin’s femur was weak enough to break in a simple fall.
The hope is that chemotherapy will sufficiently shrink Evin’s tumor so it can be safely removed and his leg can be saved. But even if the tumor is removed, he will still have to undergo further treatment to make sure the cancer has not spread to other parts of his body.