SIDNEY, Ohio (WDTN) — A Sidney 7-year-old marks his last chemotherapy treatment by ringing a bell that he and his family donated to Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“It was very surreal. You get knocked into it instantly. This is your new life,” recounts Melissa Lacy, talking about when her son Alex was first diagnosed with cancer.
“I felt like it was a terrible day to be alive,” says Alex.
In August 2017, a hospital visit for a broken arm turned into something not one of them expected.
“The ER doctor thought he looked pale, so she ran some blood work, and that’s when we found out he had leukemia,” tears up Melissa. “I was in shock.”
For the next three and a half years, the Lacy family traveled back and forth from Sidney to Dayton Children’s for chemotherapy treatments, knowing they were in good hands.
“We just kind of left it up to them, and looked to the positive, and said okay we’ll get through this,” states Melissa.
For the first month, Alex’s treatment consisted of a lot of steroids.
“A high dose, a lot of steroids. They told us he’s going to want fatty foods, salty foods,” Melissa describes, as the medicine made him crave cheese balls and anything salty.
“He woke me up at 3 in the morning one night. He needed chips and salsa. He had to have chips and salsa,” smiles Melissa.
By December that year, Alex reached remission.
Melissa recalls some chemo was easier to get him to take than others.
“One chemo he had to take once a week he hated, and that was a battle,” says Melissa.
To make it easier to swallow, Melissa and her husband Aaron resorted to bribing him.
“I eventually gave up, and Aaron took over, and Aaron bribed him with a four-wheeler. So we upped the ante a little bit,” Melissa laughs.
“And it worked!” exclaims Aaron.
Alex’s journey through treatment was a family affair.
“I was worried every once in a while,” admits his older brother Jameson.
“He went to the hospital all the time,” recalls his sister Caroline, the oldest of the three.
When Alex got closer to the end of his treatment, his family wanted to mark it in a big way, giving the hospital something it was lacking.
“We were going to get a bell. We’re going to get a bell for Alex to ring that we can donate to the hospital,” says Melissa.
In December 2020 Alex finished treatment, and they donated the bell, with Alex first to ring it.
“We went up to the fourth floor and three years later, we rang a bell,” says Aaron.
On his last day of treatment, the community also surprised him with a parade down his street.
“Cancer picked the wrong kid,” says Alex.
Now other survivors will be able to follow in Alex’s footsteps at Dayton Children’s and mark the end of their treatment by ringing that same bell.