Elijah (Eli) Horn from Ames, Iowa was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma on June 29th, 2007 at around the age of three and a half. He had a massive tumor growing in his body that went from his pelvis, up through his abdomen, and up into his chest. Completely unexpectedly by any of us since things were looking very positive, Eli met Jesus on January 18th, 2012. The nurse checked on him around 5:30am and found him unresponsive and with no pulse. They tried very hard to bring him back, but he had already slipped away to be with God.
For the benefit of others fighting the same disease, this page further details the path we took when battling the cancer afflicting our son:
Eli was being treated in Iowa City at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital until November of 2007. The plan in Iowa City was like most plans around the country, to give Eli 5 rounds of chemo, surgically remove whatever tumor is left in his abdomen, and then do tandem autologous stem cell transplants. It is a very dangerous and extremely high dose chemotherapy that basically wipes out all of your body’s stem cells, then you rescue their body by transplanting them with their own stem cells you harvested earlier in the process.
We came to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City in October of 2007 for the hands of Dr. LaQuaglia who performed Eli’s surgery to remove the tumor from around his aorta, his kidney arteries, and everywhere else the tumor was still found. People come from all over the world to have Dr. LaQuaglia do their Neuroblastoma surgery. He is an amazing surgeon. During the time we were here, we learned about Sloan’s alternative to stem cell transplants. The team in NYC uses 3F8 antibody treatments that highlight the Neuroblastoma cells and makes your own body attack the cancer. Even though it is considered more “experimental”, it has a good 20 year track record and we feel that there is much more experience with this cancer here in NYC. Eli finished 7 rounds of chemotherapy and 14 rounds of radiation to his leg and abdomen before proceeding with the 3F8 antibody, which cleared the cancer in his body. He stayed cancer free until February of 2009 when a very small Neuroblastoma tumor was found on his brain. A surgery was performed by Dr. Souweidane to remove the tumor and insert a port into Eli’s head so that another antibody called 8H9 could be administered to his brain and spine. After an additional 2 rounds of chemo and 17 rounds of full cranial and spine radiation, Eli went through the 8H9 treatment. 8H9 is a lot like 3F8, but geared specifically for the brain. Eli is currently NED (no evidence of disease) and continues to alternate between 3F8 treatment and low dose oral chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, due to all of the chemo and radiation that Eli went through to get rid of his Neuroblastoma, Eli developed secondary leukemia (AML). The plan to beat AML was to go through more chemo to get into remission at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, and then undergo a bone marrow transplant from a donor out of the national marrow donor program (www.bethematch.org) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Eli had a perfect match and received his new bone marrow on January 6th, 2012. His counts appeared to be engrafting as his white blood counts were going up, but his organs simply failed one morning from all of the treatments and he met His Savior that he had put his full faith and trust into.
While in New York City, we were blessed to be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of NY, the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. The House holds 83 families and is at capacity nearly every night. Many of these families are here with a child with Neuroblastoma and have come from all over the world to be treated at Sloan. We met countless friends in NYC and have a very special bond with many of the children and parents of the Ronald McDonald House. So while we missed our home in Iowa, we were thrilled to be getting great treatment in New York.
We thank you for your prayers and if you would like a “Prayer Warrior in Eli’s Army” bracelet to wear or give to someone to be a daily reminder to pray for Eli, simply send an e-mail to bracelets
@elihorn.com and you will immediately receive a reply with instructions on how to obtain a free bracelet.
Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”