Warren Meredith, Spinal Cord Tumor

Holly Meredith, a speech pathologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, is no stranger to childhood illness. Yet it never occurred to her that kids got cancer –until her son Warren got a rare tumor on his spine when he was two.

Holly and husband James were devastated by the news, and terrified when MD Anderson surgeons had no choice but to leave a lemon-sized piece of Warren’s tumor inside his delicate and inaccessible spine. Though the family was told that Warren’s chances of surviving were slim, neither Warren’s doctors nor the Merediths abandoned hope. Neighbors, church members and relatives rallied around the Merediths, helping the family cope with everyday chores and emotions during the intense chemotherapy and two nerve-wracking heart surgeries that followed. Six years after treatment and despite the odds, Warren’s tumor is gone and he is a sensitive, vivacious 8-year-old who chooses underdogs for friends.

"I think that’s because he grew up around kids from all over the world," says Holly. "When he couldn’t speak to the kid in the bed across from him, he would find a way to communicate so they could play."

Holly thinks she’s a better therapist now because she understands families’ special needs. The experience taught her to accept help. It also prompted the family to examine their priorities. Holly now works part time, devoting more energy to Warren and his younger brother. James is a den leader for Warren’s Boy Scout troop.

"We learned that every day counts," Holly says.

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