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When Grant Coursey was a toddler, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in young children. A tumor had wrapped itself around Grant’s spinal cord and had grown so that it pushed against his lungs.

Now 12, Grant is cancer-free; he received his first “clean” scan 10 years ago in March 2002. He had to undergo several procedures to rid his body of the cancer.

Recently, Grant and his mother, Jennifer, sat down to talk about his young life and how cancer has affected it.

“So, Mom, when I was diagnosed with cancer, how old was I?” Grant asks.

“You were 16 months old,” Jennifer says.

That diagnosis was made after Grant’s doctor started looking into what seemed to be a case of asthma. A chest X-ray was scheduled to find the cause of Grant’s wheezing. When the Courseys came in to have the X-ray images taken, Grant’s grandfather, a doctor, walked over from his office to be with them.

“As a professional courtesy, the radiologist asked if we’d like to see the images right there and then,” Jennifer says. “So, when they put the images up, things got real quiet in the room.”

The X-rays showed a tumor the size of a grapefruit. As Jennifer remembers, Grant’s grandfather looked at the images then gave his family a hug.

“And you know how Papa walks really straight?” Jennifer asks Grant, referring to his grandfather. “He kinda looked like somebody’d kicked him in the gut as he was walking back to his office, and that scared me.”

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National Public Radio

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