As September draws to a close and October begins, Geri Edwards, an employee with Iredell Health System, wishes to bring special attention to a topic close, and sadly too close, to her heart — childhood cancer.
September was National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. And though September has just concluded, we should at all times be mindful, raise awareness, and spread hope to those affected by pediatric cancer, the leading cause of death by disease for American children under the age of 19.
According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, approximately 1 in 285 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. One of those 285 was Geri’s son, Dalton.
It was 2013, and Dalton had just started his junior year at West Iredell High School, where he played soccer, football, and wrestled.
In late September of that same year, Dalton was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth removed.
“What was supposed to be a routine wisdom tooth extraction turned into the worst nightmare of our lives,” said Geri.
While at his appointment, right before his wisdom tooth extraction, the oral surgeon noticed Dalton’s blood pressure was alarmingly high. Instead of getting his wisdom teeth removed, Dalton was sent to his pediatrician.
Due to his elevated blood pressure, Dalton’s pediatrician initially suspected he was having kidney issues. His pediatrician referred him to Iredell Memorial Hospital for a CT scan.
“I thank God that the radiology department went higher than the renal (kidney) area and scanned his entire abdomen during the CT,” said Geri.