EARLY YEARS: Roanoke teen cancer survivor celebrating three years without needing treatment

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:55 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - At first glance, Evers Beck is a typical, healthy 15-year-old boy.

“I like to play soccer and play video games and just go to school,” says Evers.

But in the last five years, Evers has been through far more than his peers can imagine.

“So, he had just strange headaches all of a sudden. He was 10, and so they just thought it was migraines,” says Evers' mom Joey Coakley Beck.

The headaches didn’t disappear, and a week later they were back in the E.R.

Tests showed Evers, at the age of 10, had a brain tumor on his optic nerve.

“It was quite a shock, and you’re kind of thrown into this world that you never thought you’d be thrown into,” says Beck.

After having a craniotomy and two years of chemo, Evers got the news that his tumor had shrunk.

Success stories like his are becoming more common, thanks to new strides in treatment.

“In fact, over 84 percent of children diagnosed now with cancer in our country will survive,” says Dr. Mandy Atkinson, with Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Carilion Clinic

Dr. Atkinson says just like Evers, many child cancer patients experience unusual headaches.

Other warning signs can include sudden high fevers, unusual bruising, bone or leg pains, fatigue and decreased appetite.

Now Evers only has to get an MRI every six months to keep a check on things.

His mom encourages other parents who encounter the same situation to take it a day at a time, and do your homework.

“My biggest thing is to be your child’s advocate. Doctors are wonderful, but they don’t always know the latest and greatest, so definitely do your research. Get other opinions,” says Beck.

Luckily, Evers was able to keep playing soccer and spending time with his friends throughout his treatment.

He’s learned some important lessons along the way.

“At the end of the day, if you have it, you just got to get through it and once you get through it, you’ll be fine,” says Evers.

Beck adds that she’s a member of several support groups on Facebook, and that has really helped her cope during the past five years, since Evers' diagnosis.

You can read more about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month here.

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