Colin Flood, a six-year-old boy from Middle Village, was leading a normal life only a few months ago. He was playing peewee basketball and baseball, had started the first grade, and was full of life and energy.
On Christmas Eve, that all changed.
In the weeks leading up to that day, Colin was suffering from a constant bout of high fevers. After numerous visits to the doctor, he was sent to North Shore-LIJ’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
After further tests were done, it was determined to not be pneumonia, as his father had suspected.
Kevin Flood, 40, a retired fireman, knew it was serious when they pulled him and his wife into a room with a social worker.
Colin was diagnosed with the rare cancer acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Upon hearing the news, Kevin was “totally in shock” and “devastated.”
Though Colin is the one who has to bear the physical pain of leukemia, his family hasn’t been spared from the grasps of the disease. “Our lives have changed forever,” Flood said.
Due to Colin’s immune system being weakened, his family has to be cautious of crowded areas if he goes outside, very few visitors are allowed in their home, and utensils, dishes and other items have to be cleaned meticulously.
“A cold for him can be really bad,” his father explained.
Colin won’t go be able to return to school until the third grade. He is now being home-schooled. He can also no longer see his friends, though he is now communicating with them with his iPad, which his first-grade class got him.
In the meantime, while Colin is being treated with chemotherapy, his family is searching for a bone marrow transplant donor.
The only person who came close to matching Colin was his younger brother, but the match wasn’t 100 percent, and his body might reject the transplant.
To help find a donor, Kevin’s sister, Michelle, is helping to organize a donor drive on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Hope School, Colin’s elementary school, in Middle Village.
DKMS Americas, a nonprofit group devoted to finding bone marrow donors, will be on hand to give a simple cheek swab, the procedure done to register potential donors in the database. To register you have to be in good health and between the ages of 18 and 55.
Kevin is not only seeking the right donor for his son, but he is also hoping that the drive might help someone who is going through the same situation he is facing.
“I want as many people to get registered in the bone marrow database as possible,” he said.
“If you walk around and see these kids and people suffering from cancer and leukemia, it’s depressing,” he said. “If this drive doesn’t find a match for Colin, maybe it will help another father and son in another part of the country.”