Remember Jason and Adrianne Stewart? They're the couple from Utah in the U.S. who adopted Maria, the 6-month-old Filipino girl who was born without arms and legs. (Read the story here.)
Just as Maria was settling in comfortably and thriving in the company of her new family, the Stewarts now reveal that their 6-year-old son Joshua, whom they also adopted from the Philippines, has been diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia.
"And just like that our perfect world was shattered,” Adrianne told People. "Our entire world was turned upside down."
According to a post on the Stewart Family Facebook page, it was late in March when their only son fell ill. At first, they thought it was just the flu, but doctors said it was strep throat. Joshua didn't respond to the treatments. When he went in for another checkup, he was diagnosed with anemia.
"On April 4th, the doctor met with us about some tests that they were running on him because things did not meet the normal results. This is where the big news hit us hard. Our son was diagnosed with AML or Acute Myeloid Leukemia," the family's post read.
According to Cancer.org, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer that originates from the myeloid line of blood cells. "AML starts in the bone marrow, the soft inner part of certain bones, where new blood cells are made," according to the website. It happens when there's an increase in abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow that interferes with the production of normal blood cells. There is no cure for AML, but most patients respond favorably to treatment depending on their conditon when they were diagnosed.
Since Joshua's leukemia is "acute," it means it could spread quickly to other parts of his body if not treated immediately. In the same week he was diagnosed, he started undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Jason. Adrianne, and their kids Maria, and biological daughters Breanna, 13, and Eva, 11, began spending a lot of time at the hospital, taking shifts, and making sure Joshua is cared for and loved.
Adrianne admitted they knew Joshua has a condition that can cause him to be anemic when they decided to adopt him five years ago. But cancer never entered their minds. "When we saw Joshua for the first time, we knew he was our son, he was such a cutie pie!" Adrianne said. (Watch a video of Joshua's adoption story)
"We do not know what is to come in the future; we hold high hopes of what he will become. While we are aware of the possibilities, we choose to focus on the positive. This has been beaten before and will be beaten again," their Facebook post read. Doctors have given Joshua a 65-percent chance of survival.
Adrianne explained that Maria is worried but "doesn’t understand what’s going on with her brother." The 3-year-old loves being with her brother and uses her hospital visits to practice using her wheelchair in the hallways. "We are in this together," Adrianne said. A friend of the family has put up a GoFundMe page to help them cover the medical expenses.