Pediatric Brain Cancer Survivor, Carson Hill

Carson Hill poses with his gantry team at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center

It was concerning for Carson Hill’s parents to see him vomiting after each meal. He began to lose weight and became more ill over a months’ time. After numerous tests and visits to the pediatrician and emergency room, 11-year-old Carson was diagnosed with brain cancer. Shortly after, Carson had to undergo two surgeries to help with the fluid flow of the brain and to take a biopsy of the largest tumor. On February 3rd, Carson Hill arrived at our Proton Therapy Center to begin the final part of his treatment process. After several medical procedures, the last thing Carson wanted to do is come to our center for more treatment.

Carson Hill and Proton Therapy Center nurse Dexter Allen.

Fortunately, our Proton Therapy Center staff changed his perspective. Our nurse, Dexter Allen, helped Carson with his apprehension of the treatment. Dexter would chat daily with Carson, encouraging him and providing the tranquility he needed on the difficult days. Each day, Carson hoped that when he walked down the stairs he would hear the words, “It’s my man Carson!” And when he did, Carson would joyfully respond with “What’s up Dexter?” Their special bond blossomed so much so that Carson now considers him family. “I have a big brother named, Caleb, who is my best friend in life. We share everything and I have always looked up to him. I now have two brothers — Caleb and Dexter,” Carson said.

On March 31, Carson rang the gong to mark the end of his 30 treatments. On the morning of his last day of treatment, Carson heard the song by the band Alabama “Angels Amongst Us” playing on the radio. He felt it was the appropriate song to share at his graduation ceremony. Like the song, he felt he had angels comforting and guiding him with their kindness and noble care. His last day was filled with bittersweet emotion. With tears in his eyes, he told his parents, “I am so excited it is my last treatment day, but I will miss everyone at the Proton building so much.”

 

Bringing hope to others

Carson recently turned 12 years old and will be finishing 6th grade. He is a very active young man that enjoys being outside, playing karate and shooting hoops. He loves the Dallas Cowboys and hopes to some day meet the entire team. He loves the Houston Rockets and even owns a James Harden jersey given to him by the Make a Wish Foundation. Carson’s strength helped carry his family throughout his fight with cancer. Carson hopes to speak to other children about his journey with cancer. He wants to encourage other children to not give up during this challenging process. Carson shared his motto as: “You have to fight to the finish with faith.”