People have often asked me how did this start, how did you know he had cancer. Most children experience a persistent pain or fever which leads them to the doctor, which leads to tests, which leads to diagnosis. 

Dawson was different.  He was never in pain.  In November of 2010, he had a nagging stuffy nose, only in one nostril, that wouldn’t go away.  I took him to the pediatrician who prescribed antibiotics.  The doctor was intuitive enough to tell me that if it didn’t clear up within 10 days, to try an ENT, because only in one side was unusual.  I lasted 4 days before I took him to the ENT.  After a scope of his right nostril, the doctor discovered a mass in his nasopharyngeal region and Dawson was immediately sent to get a sinus CT and an MRI.

After those results came back suspicious, Dawson was scheduled for surgery to do a biopsy and see what we were dealing with.  The biopsy came back confirmed as cancer and Dawson was immediately admitted to the hospital for more tests than I can even remember.  His chemotherapy protocol was brutal.  He was inpatient for 5 days at a time every other week.  In between chemotherapy treatments, Dawson was always hospitalized for fever or the need for blood products due to the chemotherapy knocking out his bad cells as well as his good cells.  This is very standard for chemotherapy patients.  Dawson also endured numerous surgeries to remove metastatic nodules on his lungs as well as the primary tumor removal in his nasopharyngeal.  He had 5 weeks of radiation treatments daily.  Dawson was eventually diagnosed with Chordoma.  This is a rare cancer and is very chemotherapy resistant.  He was switched over to an at-home chemotherapy pill which really made our life quite normal.

Over the course of his treatment, Dawson remained upbeat, positive, caring, happy, and full of spunk and in relatively good health, all things considering.  His cancer remained stable for 2 years although it never went away.  In September 2012, he had his end of treatment scans which were to signal an end to this nightmare, but sadly his cancer had relapsed.  We tried everything and everybody to treat Dawson and travelled to distant hospitals in hopes of finding some treatment that would work.

There was no path to remission and Dawson passed away at home in my arms on April 4, 2013 at the age of 13.  He left a hole in our hearts and in our family that can never be filled and I miss him beyond what words can describe.  Dawson was very spiritual and knew that God had a bigger plan for him.  For that, I am so proud of him.  He remains an integral part of our family.  He always will. I never speak of him in the past because I know he is alive and well in Heaven and waiting for me to join him on that day when God calls me home.

Dawson’s Memorial Video

Dawson’s Obituary

Dawson Howard Creager, Age 13 of Geneva, was granted his angel’s wings Thursday,April 4,2013, after a long battle with cancer. He was born September 10, 1999.  He fought his illness with a courage and a bravery that far exceeded his 13 years.  Dawson’s life would seem too short but those who were touched by him understood the quality of existence is much greater than the quantity of time in which one lives.  His courage led us to know that each day is a blessing and with his passing we remind others that his life is one to be celebrated.  We will miss him every day especially his beautiful blue eyes and his winning smile.  He will forever remain in our hearts.

He is survived by his parents Mike and Susan Creager, his sister Kelsey, his brothers Mason and Carson, his maternal grandparents Bill and Harriette Brown of Ardmore, TN, his paternal grandparents Bill and Edna Creager of Palm Coast, FL, his great-grandmother, many aunts, uncles, cousins and caregivers.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from 6-8 PM at Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home, Oviedo Chapel. A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church of Oviedo, 263 King Street, Oviedo, Florida 32765. Interment will follow at Oviedo Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to First United Methodist Church of Oviedo.