HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Sure way to grab attention? Start your email like this:
"Molly, I am sitting here at Brenner's Children's Hospital while my 7-month-old grandson is in surgery. He has just been diagnosed with cancer."
When Barney Stephens wrote about his grandson, little Greyson was getting his feeding tube moved to his stomach, a port put in, having a CT scan, a PET scan and a bone biopsy. Greyson has a twin named Hunter, a 3-year-old sister named Harper, and two exhausted parents.
"It's so much for a 7-month-old to go through," Barney wrote. "And in some ways, even more for his family."
I hear that all the time.
Greyson's parents – Kyle and Bekah Stephens – live in Hickory. Kyle says they were thrilled to realize they were pregnant with twins.
"They're fourth generation twins," Kyle said. "Twins run in the family. When they were born we felt like our lives were complete."
Within a couple weeks, Kyle and Bekah noticed one of the boys – Greyson – was having trouble breastfeeding. They took him to the doctor. Though he was only born one ounce smaller than Hunter, he was significantly smaller after a couple of weeks. The doctor advised switching to bottles.
Greyson started gaining weight, but nothing like his brother.
After a few more weeks, his doctor suggested Kyle and Bekah take him to Brenner's.
"They eventually did an MRI," Kyle said. "It showed a very large mass in his tongue. The initial thought was it was a small vessel AVM. You typically wouldn't want to biopsy a small vessel AVM, so the date was set to remove it."
Before the time came to remove the mass, something told Bekah (I call this "mother's instinct") to travel to Chapel Hill to get one more opinion.
The doctor there felt strongly a biopsy was needed.
"Bekah and I decided to ask the doctor in Winston Salem to do the biopsy," Kyle says. "He did."
The biopsy was March 1st. On March 3rd they were told the worst news any parent can hear:
Greyson had cancer.
"Nothing can prepare you," Kyle said. "Nothing can compare."
Which brings us to today. Though Kyle and Bekah are still waiting for exacts on what type of cancer, doctors believe it's some variation of Ewing's Sarcoma. The biopsy was sent to an expert in Los Angeles for more information.
The survival rate for Ewing's Sarcoma – if the cancer hasn't metastasized – is 70-80%.
If the cancer has metastasized that percentage drops to 20-30%.
"We are hoping for results of not metastasized cancer," Kyle said. "Greyson is strong. He is a fighter."
Kyle and Bekah keep updates about Greyson on Facebook (wont' let me tag them for some reason, so you can find the page here >> https://www.facebook.com/groups/1438219756211969/).
This sweet boy is also a new face of the Hearts and Hope Foundation in Catawba County, founded in memory and honor of another one of our #MollysKids, Luke Sigmon. I've talked about this Foundation and it's fundraising events before – Greyson is the perfect example of why grass roots organizations started from families who truly understand are so important.
Kyle says they're asking for good thoughts. Not only are they in the thick of medical uncertainty, they're also going through this while having to care for another 7-month-old and 3-year-old.
Thank you, Barney, for writing.
Please Kyle and Bekah, please keep us updated. We're thinking of you.