Nine-year-old diagnosed with rare cancer, family asking for cards to lift his spirits

DENHAM SPRINGS — A local 9-year-old is in the biggest fight of his life, and he and his family are hoping cards from the community will help him in his battle against a rare cancer.

John Burthe LaCroix Jr. began feeling pain in his side on July 25th. His mother took him to the hospital, and the ultrasound returned normal, but LaCroix had a 103-degree fever.

“At first, they thought it was appendicitis,” said LaCroix’s mother, Andrea Stanley. “They did lab work and CAT scan but couldn’t tell me what it was. They contacted Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, and they transported us to Children’s in Baton Rouge. On the 27th, we got a biopsy, and they told me he had cancer and went ahead and put a port in. They sent a biopsy to St. Jude and couldn’t figure out what it was for a month.”

Stanley’s son was eventually diagnosed with Epithelioid Mesothelioma.

Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common form of malignant mesothelioma. It is typically caused by exposure to asbestos fibers over a person’s lifetime, but LaCroix has a rare form that is not caused by asbestos exposure. With Epithelioid mesothelioma, healthy epithelial cells are one of four types of tissues in the body, along with connective tissue, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue. However, epithelial cells can mutate and become cancerous because of asbestos exposure.

LaCroix goes to St. Jude every 21 days. His mom said he receives three types of chemo for seven hours each visit.

“He has his days,” Stanley said. “He doesn’t like talking about it at all. Some days, he’s angry. He is trying to come to terms with it. Not being able to be himself has been hard. He wants to play with kids, and I have to tell him he has to be careful because other kids could be sick. He said it’s not fair. He’s nine years old.”

She said her son’s spirit has been down recently. He’s been “stuck” inside, which is the opposite of his personality.

“He is a clown,” the mom said. “He loves making people laugh and riding bikes outside. He likes playing football and video games. He hates being stuck inside. He’s outgoing and energetic. He loves making people happy. He’s one of a kind.”

UPDATE

Recently, Stanley said the cards have begun to pour in and they continue to cheer him up.

“He gets excited when I tell him he has cards coming in the mail,” Stanley said. “He gets 10 or more cards daily! His school sent his sister home with a bunch Monday (Oct. 16). We get emotional but happy for the cards of encouragement for him because he’s not in this fight alone. His army is bigger than the cancer.”

LaCroix is scheduled for treatment at Baton Rouge Children’s Hospital Thursday.

If you want to donate to the family, there is a GoFundMe page. You can also follow LaCroix’s journey on his Facebook page. You can also purchase merchandise that will help support LaCroix’s family.

Send cards

John Burthe LaCroix Jr.
13858 brittany court
denham springs la 70726

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