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Patients in the Spotlight: Roman Statt

"We are Roman Strong" 

Roman StattFans of the Golisano Children’s Hospital Facebook page, Darcy Eichas-Statt and Kevin Statt began seeing promotions for the 2014 Stroll for Strong Kids walk and 5K and knew they had to get involved and give back to the hospital that helped their son.

The “We are Roman Strong” team will join thousands of other children’s hospital advocates in the Peace, Love, and Healing-themed Stroll for Strong Kids event that kicks off the children's hospital's annual Miracle Weekend. 

Before Roman’s second birthday, Darcy and Kevin noticed their son was developing spots on his legs. Roman’s daycare teacher had also mentioned he was bruising more than the other kids. Darcy took Roman to their pediatrician at Genesis Pediatrics in Rochester who diagnosed him with petechiae – red or purple spots on the skin caused by broken capillary blood vessels – and believed he had a blood disorder. They advised the Statt family to take their son to UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital immediately for further blood testing. After treating what initially looked like a blood disorder, doctors performed a bone marrow biopsy and found Roman had leukemia.

Roman was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) on Aug. 14, 2013. His specific subtype of the cancer is M7, or acute megakaryoblastic leukemia, a very rare type that begins in the early formations of cells that create platelets.

Roman would undergo four rounds of chemotherapy, each lasting around 30 days – all of which were spent in the hospital. His intense treatment often required him to take three different kinds of chemotherapy twice a day. Pregnant at the time, Darcy and Kevin were thankful that the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester’s House within the Hospital, located above the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), often gave them a comfortable place to rest and get some sleep.

Although Roman underwent extensive treatment during his time at Golisano Children’s Hospital, including a total of 82 chemo treatments, more than 30 blood and platelet transfusions, five bone marrow biopsies, scans, surgeries, infusions, and more, he rarely showed discomfort and was always ready to give out free hugs.

“He would get up and run around the nurses stations, hugging everyone that could get their hands on him,” Darcy said. “He learned how to press the button to open the door on the 4-3600 unit and, because I was about eight months pregnant, the nurses quickly learned to keep up with him.”

Roman Celebration

Roman celebrates the end of his treatments by ringing the ‘End of Chemo’ bell.

Roman finished treatment in December 2013, right before Christmas, and had his central line removed on St. Patrick’s Day. “He proudly lifts up his shirt and says ‘No more tubies!,” Darcy said.

Roman’s oncology team was an integral piece to his success story. Pediatric oncologists Jeffrey Andolina, M.D., Razia Akhtar, M.D., Laila Mahmood, M.D. and the whole nursing and support staff on the 4-3600 unit, became like a second family at a place the Statts began to refer to as ‘home.’ The support Darcy and Kevin received during their stay inspired them to want to give back to families like theirs in any way they could.

“We were so lucky to have the hospital and its resources for Roman and if we can play a role in allowing that for other families we are happy to do so,” Darcy said. “Roman is excited to see everyone at the Stroll. We have kept in touch with the nurses and other families and are anticipating a wonderful reunion.”