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Walkers bring awareness to rare children’s cancer

These individuals walked more than three miles in a loop from Covey’s Campground to bring awareness to a rare children’s cancer called Histiocytosis. September is Histiocytosis Awareness Month.


At approximately 11 a.m. last Sunday morning, 20 individuals began a Histiocytosis Awareness Walk from Covey’s Campground on Claytor Lake.

A half dozen golf carts followed the walkers on their 3.1 mile loop to and from Covey’s Campground just in case someone had to drop out because they couldn’t go the distance … but no one did. The walkers were all wearing T-shirts with insignia calling for an end to the rare disease called Histiocytosis.

“My grandson Bryson had it,” said Mary Fauld, whose daughter Natalie Fanning organized the event. “September is awareness month for Histiocytosis. So many kids are misdiagnosed. My grandson went from nine months old to 18 months before they diagnosed him.”

Histiocytosis is a very rare disorder in which histiocytes (a type of white blood cell) build up in certain tissues and organs. Left untreated, it can be very deadly.

“So many of the same symptoms that kids get, like high fever, sore throat and ear infections are also symptoms of Histiocytosis,” said Mary Fauld. “That’s why Bryson went so long before being diagnosed. He had to have a CT scan before they found it. This cancer eats away at organs, so it had gotten almost to his pituitary gland. Then we went on to UVA, where we had treatments.”

The chemotherapy that young Bryson received was similar in make up to the treatments given to children with Leukemia. The good news is that the treatments Bryson received, more than a decade ago, proved to be successful.

Today, Bryson is still on medication to prevent a relapse but even though there’s said to be no cure, Bryson is doing very well and has had no symptoms of Histiocytosis for several years.

The treatments were partially financed by annual fundraisers, which have taken the form of golf tournaments and even beauty pageants for men.

This is the second Histiocytosis Awareness Walk and Mary Fauld and her daughter Natalie Fanning and the rest of the Histiowarriors plan on doing another one next year about this time.



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