Mississippi Blood Services is asking for more donations for a Pike County 4-year-old diagnosed with cancer whose condition recently took a turn for the worse.
Caston Cash Ward was originally diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of the disease that is highly survivable for children, in early August.
On Friday, doctors changed the diagnosis to acute myelogenous leukemia after he fell ill.
Both forms rapidly pro-gress and affect bone marrow, where blood cells are made, but acute myelogenous leukemia is more severe because of the type of white blood cells it attacks.
Cash’s treatment will require a lot of donor blood, and multiple blood drives have been held for him.
There will be a blood drive for Cash at McComb Market from noon to 6 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 29. If a person cannot donate blood during the drive but wishes to donate for Cash later, his donor code is DZ212.
“He is going to need a lot of blood, and I hope we as a community can step in. They have got to get some help,” Mississippi Blood Services Southwest Mississippi Representative Sherry Brooks said.
Cash’s treatment will essentially have to start back at square one, with more chemotherapy and blood transfusions to kill all of the affected white blood cells and replace his red blood cells.
Cash’s mother Mallory Ward noted in a Facebook post that he may need a bone marrow transplant, and doctors are already looking for a suitable donor. Cash has siblings who might be a match.
She said he will spend most of the next four to six months in the hospital.
“The effects of the disease process as well as previous chemotherapys are pretty evident,” she said. “He has not been his vibrant, active self for a couple of weeks now. He’s had high fevers, leg pain, low hemoglobin and low platelets as well as just feeling tired and weak.”
Cash had never had a haircut and loved his long hair, which he is now starting to lose, his mother said.
“The three drugs he is on now breaks down the mucous membranes, nails, skin and hair cells, so it’s only a matter of time before it is all gone,” she said. “Very minimal in the big picture, but the boy does love his hair. We are hoping, and praying that even with these major drugs being used to treat the leukemia, he will begin to feel better once the disease process is disrupted.”
Mallory Ward asked for people to pray for Cash’s health, the medical team and for minimal complications.
“We appreciate all of the love and blessings, we continue to be overwhelmed with all of y’all and your overflowing kindness and support,” she said. “We could never thank y’all enough. Please keep praying for Cash.”