Eight-year old Kenneth Stewart III has become a local celebrity in the community, and has recently picked up the nick-name of “Soldier Boy of Dawsonville.”
Although Stewart is not a member of the military, he is a fighter and a very strong young man, according to his mother Anna Miles.
In November 2008, Stewart was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer known as medullablastoma. It is the most common primary central nervous system tumor that often arises in childhood. Such tumors are the most common malignant tumors that are typically fast-growing and form between the brain stem and cerebellum.
“Kenneth went from an all-star baseball player who was unstoppable, to a little boy who finds happiness in the smallest places,” Miles said. “Just sitting up for 10 minutes and not feeling anything or doing anything makes him smile.”
Miles added that the day of his diagnosis is one that she will never forget.
“The day I had to tell my son that he had a tumor in his brain, we had about 15 minutes before they took him into surgery to try and remove the tumor,” she said. “He took the urgent news fine, he was so brave and completely fearless. He was like talking to an adult.”
Facing the unknown during and immediately after the surgery, Miles found out shortly after that her son had not only one tumor, but three, two of which were inoperable due to their location.
Since his diagnosis, Stewart has been going through intense chemotherapy treatments, one of the most strenuous studies that was available at the time of his diagnosis.
“In such a state of shock (once the surgery was complete), we had to decide what action to take from there and needed to act quickly due to the severity of Kenneth’s two other tumors,” Miles said. “We decided to put him on one of the harshest treatment studies going on at the time that required six straight weeks of daily radiation, followed by several different types of chemotherapy drugs (also administered daily), and continuing into nine more months of treatment.”
Noting that Stewart has no prognosis and they live one day at a time, Miles said her son has recently completed the last harsh round of the treatment study and they are awaiting the results of an MRI taken yesterday to see what affect the treatment study had on Stewart.
Recently, the soldier boy’s brave struggle was included in an event to raise money for the AFLAC Cancer Center, where he is a patient.
“He was very tickled to be able to answer questions about his battle and all that he is doing to fight this disease,” she said. “He feels that he is playing an important role by telling his story and raising money for such a good cause. This was his chance to say, ‘If I can do this, you can too.’
“He has overcome so many obstacles with nothing less than pure strength in his eyes and in his heart. He is a miracle to me and to so many of the other kids at the clinic. His dreams are not buried by this battle, but just beginning,” she said.
Miles and Stewart want to thank the community for the overwhelming support and prayers of people they know and those they don’t.
“We stick by the power of prayer and plan to keep the community updated as soon as we know of any progress that has been made,” she said.
To follow Stewart’s progress, a CarePage has been set up at www.carepages.com.
An account has been set up at United Community Bank for those who would like to donate.
For more information, contact Miles at firstname.lastname@example.org.