The past 18 months have required a lot from the Smith family. They regularly traveled three and half hours each way to the Children’s Hospital Oakland from their Reno Nevada home to get their young son, Logan to his medical treatments. In April of 2015 when he was just two years old, Logan Smith was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer.
When a young child is diagnosed with cancer, the diagnosis is felt by the entire family particularly hard, and the Smiths were no different. Logan is supported by his older brother Hunter, and parents Nancy and Eric. To support Logan, Nancy took a leave from work as a nurse, and Eric traveled to Oakland every weekend so the family could spend three quality days together. Beyond that, Hunter lived with neighbors for partial weeks during the fall so his school year wouldn’t be too disrupted. The Smiths and their community showed that no one fights alone. The Smith family has given so much to their community as a nurse, as a sheriff, and as crossfitters. In turn, the community supported and continue to support the Smiths through Logan’s battle with cancer.
Despite the struggle that accompanies any battle with cancer, the Smiths continue to draw strength from the one person they are rallying behind, Logan. He is an incredibly positive, charming and happy young boy - he thanks the nurses after they put in the needle because he knows that even though it hurts they are trying to heal him. He fights hard to learn how to walk again and increasing mobility as he regains his strength. It’s this graciousness and fight that keeps the Smiths inspired.
The Smiths also derive strength from giving back to their community. Eric has been an active crossfitter since 2011 at the Black Iron Gym in Sparks, Nevada. Nancy joined the gym just after Eric, and Logan became known in the gym for his enthusiasm for burpees. The gym now hosts an annual event called “Lift for Logan” which features burpees over the bar and snatches. Eric has been involved in other fundraising events like “Pulling for Little Heroes” which is a fundraiser for kids with cancer. He has also joined in Everyday Warrior’s Battle Series and ran the San Francisco marathon for “Cure Search,” the organization that funded Logan’s treatment protocol.
Above all, the Smiths live by the foundational belief that “everything that’s given to us we give back.” They want to put a face to childhood cancer and get it out into the world as something that deserves attention. Cancer kills more than 2,500 kids every year, but it only receives 4% of the funding from the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute.
The Smiths do everything for Logan - Nancy explained, “he has lived so much in his short life...” So they tried to create normalcy and bring some joy between and during treatments. They went to an Oakland A’s game, they took trips to Santa Cruz, and they visited Monterey. His father Eric said, “We didn’t have a choice. If we were going to make it. We were going to have to be strong.”
Eight months after finishing inpatient treatment, Logan has no evidence of disease, but he still needs to be retested every three months. This type of cancer has the highest level of recidivism in the first eighteen months so he will be tested until January 2018. Being a child with cancer carries risks beyond recurrence - Logan needs to be revaccinated so he can go to childcare. Until then his mom can’t go back to work full-time. With babysitting they need to be cautious to make sure he will be safe.
As of his last checkup, Logan is progressing well - he no longer needs any daily meds. He will still have to take antibiotics on the weekends, but this is a small step toward normalcy. Each day he progresses physically, and he greets each new challenge with his cheerful smile.