A few months ago, 4-year-old Jayden Zentner, was a “happy, handsome, amazing boy,” said his mother, Melissa Zentner. But when he developed severe back pain during T-ball in late March and stopped walking and playing, “we knew something was wrong,” Melissa said.
The family took Jayden in for an MRI and was told tumors had been found in his spine and pelvis. After numerous tests and procedures, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with lymphomatous features. “He has cancer in his blood stream,” his mother said, “and three tumors: two on his spine, one on his pelvis.” One of the spinal tumors has made walking, sitting and standing painful, although it’s finally begun to shrink from treatments and he’s begun to walk again.
That’s a “huge accomplishment,” Melissa said, but he will have to wear a back brace for spinal protection and undergo three years of treatment.
She said the family recently found out “childhood cancer only gets 4 percent of all cancer research funding.” As a result, they’ve made it a goal to help raise awareness of childhood cancer, especially in September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Zentners are encouraging people to wear gold and “help spread the word.” They have also joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” event on Oct. 12 in Santa Rosa under the team name Jayden’s ALL Journey.
For more information about Jayden Zentner and his family, visit facebook.com/jaydensalljourney.