8-year-old Mich. boy diagnosed with rare skin cancer
MARINE CITY, Mich. (WJBK) - Eight-year-old Landon Agosta's biggest concern should be fighting his three brothers over a video game controller. Come this week, however, Landon will start a much bigger battle.
It started as a simple itch on his back.
"I don't know what it was because I was spending the night at my grandma's house," Landon remembers.
"[It was] like a bloody mole, basically, and it started raising and getting bigger," his mother, Amanda Agosta, says.
Then came the cancer diagnosis -- stage three melanoma. It's rare to find in an 8 year old. The family says less than two percent of children his age are diagnosised with this form of cancer.
"Every doctor we've talked to about this has assured us it's not something we did. Unfortunately, though, they can't tell us why either," says Landon's dad, Joe Agosta. "There's no reason why it's happening to him."
"It's just heartbreaking. You don't like to see him in pain or having to go through any of this," Amanda says.
The family says of all the kids, red-headed Landon was the most cautious when it comes to the sun. His dad even says he would wear a UV sunshirt, and was never the type to go out bare chested.
Regardless of why, this is where they are at. Now, for five days a week until Christmas Landon will undergo aggressive, experimental treatment to get rid of it. He will receive injections of something called Interfearon.
"It boosts his immune system so much it attacks cells in his body," Amanda explains. Think of it as chemo for skin cancer.
It attacks the cells, both good and bad, giving patients flu-like symptoms as a side effect.
"Every kid is different. They don't know exactly the effecst that it's going to have on him," Amanda says.
Only four hospitals in the country offer the treatment. One of them is in Ann Arbor, about an hour and a half from the family's front door in Marine City. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations for gas money. The money donated will also go to lodging, medical bills and other unforseen costs.
"It's been such a relief knowing that all that support is out there, and we do have people that actually care," Amanda says.
On the shoulder's of an 8-year-old boy, the family has learned what they are made of.
"Is it hard to be strong? Or are you pretty good at it?" FOX 2's Dave Spencer asks Landon.
"I'm pretty good at it," Landon says.
"What makes you strong?" Spencer asks.
"My family," he says.
Which is why they are taking this on as a team and, along the way, hoping to raise awareness in the battle of childhood cancer.
Click here if you'd like to make a donation to the family via their GoFundMe account.