HOUSTON – Vaughn was 10 years old when he played the soldier in KPRC 2′s Fight 2 End Pediatric Cancer PSA. We asked his mom Megan McCullum to give us an update and some background on his battle with cancer.
Meet Vaughn McCullum. Vaughn is now five years cancer-free and doing great! He’s now graduated to the long-term survival clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital! That’s a big deal! Also, he’s now back in school making new friends and enjoying life.
His diagnosis: Vaughn was diagnosed with medulloblastoma brain cancer in April of 2016 when he was 7 years old. He was having headaches on a daily basis. His mom and dad would take him to the doctor and were always sent home saying that it was just a headache and that kids get them, so it's ok. As parents, they knew something wasn't right.
After eight months of doctor visits and being told everything was fine, the headaches continued to worsen.
Then, one day when Vaughn's mom was dropping him off at school--she noticed him staggering, and he even fell down a couple of times from the car to the front door of the school. Later that day, she took him to the ER. The ER doctor took Vaughn for a CT scan, and that's when his family received the devastating news no parent wants to hear. The doctor said, "Your son has a brain tumor". Vaughn was rushed to Texas Children's Hospital. Over the next year--he had brain surgeries, harsh chemotherapy, and proton brain radiation; he had to learn how to walk and talk and function as a child all over again.
How cancer has impacted Vaughn and his family: Childhood cancer does not just affect the child, it affects everyone around them. Their family members, friends, teachers, and people who don't even know them that well are all affected by the cancer. Vaughn's mom says there was a paradigm shift in their family, their mindset, their faith and gratefulness.
She says that when a child is diagnosed with cancer, life as you know it is never the same; your entire world is flipped upside down. When you're in the hospital so much, she says you lose complete sense of reality; some days you don't know if it's daytime or nighttime, or what the weather is like, or even what time it is.
Vaughn's family says they would never wish this diagnosis on anyone--but that it has brought their family closer, and they wouldn't change it for the world. His mom and dad thank all the doctors at Texas Children's Hospital and MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, and most of all, they thank the Lord for healing their son.
When asked what going gold in September means to Vaughn and his family, his mom said, "There is a lot of emphasis placed on other cancers and unfortunately childhood cancer does not get recognized as much. These children are our future! For one month out of the year, our superheroes deserve to be recognized and honored for their bravery. It means a lot that they are not forgotten!"
KPRC 2 would like to thank B.I.G. Love Cancer Care for all it does to help children like Vaughn. If you would like to donate to B.I.G. Love Cancer Care, click here.