FOX 4 first shared the story of 9-year-old Ethan Tate in 2010 shortly after he was diagnosed with leukemia. He'd been in and out of the hospital and made a promise to one day be cancer free and celebrate at the beach. Now FOX 4's Heather Hays has an update.
Ethan's medical issues began when he was just 5 years old. His mother took him to the pediatrician because of stomach trouble.
"It could be mono, or it could be an injured spleen or it could be the c-word. That's when I got pretty panicked," Katrina Tate said.
After a lot of tests, doctors determined Ethan did indeed have leukemia.
"My heart just stopped, of course. It stopped and we were in the same room with Ethan when he told me that and that was really hard because I just got up and walked out and hit my knees in the emergency room hallway and started balling. You turn to God in that moment and that's all you really can do," his mom said.
The family was told chemo therapy would be a three year process. And it and the daily dose of pills began immediately.
Word of Ethan's battle spread around his hometown of Rockwall.
In April of 2010, friends and family, along with students and staff from Jones Elementary, held a fundraiser for the Tate family at Joe Willy's Barbeque. Everyone wore Ethan's favorite color – John Deere green.
The chemo and many, many sick days continued. So did the community support.
In June of last year, Hawaiian Falls in Garland celebrated Ethan Tate Day and with every ticket purchased a donation went to the Make a Wish Foundation.
"It's amazing. We didn't ask for anything. They heard about the story and contacted us and had everything planned and everything set up," Katrina Tate said.
Ethan loves water and always said one day he would celebrate being cancer free at the beach.
It's been three long years for the Tate family, but they were finally able to share a photo of that beach trip. Ethan had his last chemo treatment in May and doctors say he is now cancer free.
Ethan is indeed celebrating life at the beach just like he promised he would.
His family said faith and friends got them through.
Now Ethan is just looking forward to the fourth grade and playing baseball and flag football.
He will still need monthly checkups, but doctors do not expect the cancer to return.
Do you have a story you've been wondering about? Call Heather Hays at 214-720-3195 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KDFW FOX 4
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