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Rye Brook Toddler Takes Cancer Head-On

RYE BROOK, N.Y. – When Rye Brook parents Greg and Donna Pastor's 2-year-old son Jack began complaining of stomach aches in January 2011, they hardly expected what was to come.  Now, more than a year later, the Pastors have something extra to feel lucky about this St. Patrick’s Day: their son’s remission from stage four cancer.

Last year, the Pastors took Jack to a pediatrician who diagnosed their son with a stomach bug. However, it wasn't until Jack, a regular ball of energy, became lethargic that his parents started to become concerned.

On Jan. 14, 2011, the Pastors took Jack to the emergency room at Westchester Medical Center's Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla. Jack wouldn't return home for another 30 days.

Jack was immediately rushed into surgery after an initial x-ray revealed his small and large intestine were barreling together creating an obstruction. It was during Jack's surgery that the doctors discovered the cause of the impasse, inflamed lymph nodes. The lymph nodes were sent for biopsy and the Pastors soon saw their worst nightmares come true. The growths were malignant. Their 2-year-old son had cancer.

Jack was diagnosed with stage four Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He spent the next seven days in the pediatric ICU and underwent a myriad of scans and tests to see if the growths had spread. Luckily for Jack and his parents, the cancer hadn't spread beyond his chest and stomach.

Ten days after being admitted in the ER, Jack underwent his first round of chemotherapy.  One month after discovering he had cancer, scans revealed that Jack's chemotherapy has been successful and almost all of his tumors were gone.

Jack endured four more rounds of chemotherapy that lasted through last April, but now, more than a year after being diagnosed, Jack's cancer is in remission. The Pastors report that Jack's energy has returned and he has enrolled in pre-school again and spends his time playing with his friends and little brother Alex.

After Jack went into remission his father got involved with raising money for cancer research. In June of last year, he raised $4,500 for cancer research as part of Fairfield's Half Marathon through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training (TNT) program. This summer, Greg Pastor hopes to raise more with his son Jack walking by his side as an honored guest.

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