Atlanta's Boy and Girl of the Year
Atlanta's Boy and Girl of the Year
MEET ATLANTA'S 2020 BOY & GIRL OF THE YEAR!
Boy of the Year - Gideon, age 13
On December 13, 2013 Gideon took a trip to the doctor that changed his life forever. His mom, Shauna, thought he was just sick but they quickly realized it was much worse. Gideon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In the span of six hours, their world was flipped upside down.
Gideon immediately started treatment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, spending Christmas in the hospital. He had to put aside his love of playing baseball and being a normal kid in exchange for chemotherapy. His three siblings struggled with his diagnosis but even in the hardest stages of his treatment, he was always looking out for everyone else—making everyone laugh with his witty jokes and playful sense of humor.
As a jokester, he made light of his side effects by sporting a Mohawk when he started to lose his hair. His family quickly followed behind, having his Dad, cousins and even his grandpa shave their heads in his honor. Gideon’s parents say he embodies the definitions of his name -- mighty warrior, knowing there was a big battle ahead.
At eight years old, he had already been in treatment for almost two years. In total, his treatment lasted four years. On April 10, 2017 Gideon finished his maintenance stage of treatment and today, is able to say he is a childhood cancer survivor!
Gideon will say the only time he got really upset while in treatment was when he saw another child suffering or crying because of their cancer. As our 2020 Boy of the Year, Gideon will continue to be a mighty warrior for all of those children who will walk the same hospital halls that he did and empower them to be courageous.
Girl of the Year - Briley, age 9
Briley was born with a complication called Tetralogy of Fallout, a heart malformation that was corrected by a double bypass open heart surgery. At five years old, Briley and her family were told her heart would need some more repair and she would need an additional open-heart surgery before she turned 10. In April of 2018, when Briley was only seven years old, she went to her cardiologist to see why her heart was causing her pain. After some testing, they found it the pain wasn’t related to her heart condition and she was diagnosed with High Risk B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) that day.
Briley was immediately rushed to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta- Egleston. She remained in the hospital for 60 days, due to chemo related reactions a fever that lasted more than 40 days. She received weekly IV chemotherapy, oral chemotherapy, weekly CT scans, arm and lung biopsies, multiple lumbar punctures to place chemo into her spine and a full body MRI within the first two months of her treatment. She would endure outpatient weekly chemotherapy and lumbar punctures for the next year and was told she would need two additional years of monthly appointments for chemo.
During her treatment, Briley participated in Children’s “Beads of Courage” program, receiving a bead to signify different parts of her treatment. Blood drawings, medication, chemotherapy, days in the hospital and procedures gave Briley more than 1,035 beads that she proudly wears to show the courage she had throughout her journey. All of these were earned before the age of nine.
Today, Briley returns to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta once a month for IV chemo and has nightly oral chemo at home. Even with her maintenance stage of treatment, Briley has started to be a kid again. She loves being a cheerleader, experiencing new hobbies like character voice overs and has teamed up with local organizations to give back to the kids who are starting their cancer battles.
On September 11, 2020, Briley will ring the bell for conclusion of her cancer treatment!