WALKER, La. (BRPROUD) — The community rallied together to throw an unforgettable birthday celebration for a 6-year-old boy with cancer.
Anthony Terrell was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Tuesday, March 14. When his mother, Anna, heard the news, she said that the family’s “entire lives had changed in just that single moment.”
Anna describes Anthony as “humorous, giving, spirited, caring, thoughtful, sensitive and adventurous.” She said he loves God, his family and Spider-Man too.
On Wednesday, March 15, Anthony and his mother made their way to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. They rode in an ambulance and, because Anthony was too high-risk at that point, his father followed behind in a separate vehicle.
The boy’s symptoms started in 2022 when “Anthony had what seemed to be ‘growing pains’ in his feet and his shins,” according to his mother. In January and February of this year, he dealt with overnight coughing, and wrist, leg and arm pain. Then he experienced low to mild fevers at different times in February and March.
Anthony was diagnosed with a tumor in his forearms and had an MRI done on “both forearms and a total body bone scan,” according to his mother. A bone biopsy was performed in early March which found a blue cell tumor.
Anna’s son then had to get a lymph node biopsy and bone marrow biopsy. The result of the latter biopsy was a “definitive diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” according to Anthony’s mother.
At St. Jude, Anthony went through a six-week-long intensive treatment followed by two months of consolidation treatment. He is currently going through continuation treatment which is a process that takes place over 120 weeks. Anna said he will be receiving treatment through March of 2025. He is currently in remission.
Anthony’s mother said the family is “so grateful to all who have checked in on him and who are praying.”
Neighbors throw birthday parade celebration
The community in Walker gave their support to Anthony and his family on his birthday with a parade Thursday, Oct. 26. One community member, Mallory Granger, went to school with Anthony’s older brother and lives in the same neighborhood as the Terrell family.
“I believe the community wanted to show support for him because knowing he is so young and going through what he’s been through the community wants him to know we think of him as a brave hero and the community wants him and his family to know that we have their back,” said Granger.
An estimated 200 cars showed up to support Anthony and his family. The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office also took part in the parade, saying they “were honored to do it.”
“It was like he was a famous movie star. Completely and utterly melted my heart,” said Anna.
One of the highlights during the parade for Anthony was being able to ride in a firetruck and beep the horn.
Anthony’s mom said she was “overwhelmed with emotion and awestruck” with the turnout at the birthday parade.
So, what does the future hold for Anthony? While he’s still doing labs and receiving chemotherapy, he has a 96% chance of being alive in five years. His mother hopes he will remain in remission throughout the remainder of his treatment.