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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Chase Teacher, 5 years old, Leukemia

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

In September of 2018, Chase began his first year of preschool at LPPP. 2 months later, on a Tuesday evening in November, Chase began having relentless high fevers and nosebleeds. After a few days of his symptoms intensifying we went to the ER for what we assumed was the flu. Unfortunately, Chase’s bloodwork showed severe pancytopenia, a condition where all three components of bone marrow: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are dangerously low. Chase was immediately transferred to CHOC of Orange where he received 4 blood transfusions, 2 platelet transfusions and a cryo transfusion. The following morning he had a lumbar puncture and a bone marrow aspiration from his hip bone. Within 24 hours, Chase’s oncologist came to us with his official diagnosis, B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

The next 10 months for Chase were hard, and scary and torturous to watch from a parent’s perspective. Port placement, constant high-dose chemotherapy, steroids, lumbar punctures to inject chemo into his spinal fluid, more blood transfusions and hospital stays. The chemo caused painful and upsetting side effects including sores in his mouth and intestines requiring morphine drips, nausea and vomiting, and extreme joint pain.

Chase’s time spent at LPPP was so short but impactful. We found ourselves repeating to Chase (and to ourselves!) the mantra of Teachers Barbara and Jackie at LPPP.... “you can do hard things”. And boy did he. Harder things then we ever envisioned for our little boy. At only four years old, Chase faced the toughest of treatments with courage, humor, and self control. He is amazing. The lessons we as a family have learned from him are invaluable!

Finally, in the summer of 2019, Chase began maintenance therapy, which consists of daily oral chemo with intermittent intravenous chemo and lumbar punctures. He is scheduled to complete treatment on January 18, 2021.

Chase has regained so much of his energy and can be found most days outside ripping around in his bike, hiking, rolling around with his dogs or wrestling with his two older brothers. We continue to be supported by the people and organizations that were there when we fell, like a safety net of love and support, that have cheered us on from the sidelines since day one. We’ve yet to find the words to describe just how meaningful the outreach has been for Chase and our family. ‘Incredible’ doesn’t even come close.

-Ashley Teacher

Here are a couple of organizations important to us:

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