HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A Hot Springs 11-year-old with a rare form of blood cancer is honored as a hero after taking part in a research program to help find a cure. Cannon McMullin was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia at eight years old. ET is a form of Myeloproliferative neoplasms or rare blood cancers where a person’s bone marrow doesn’t function properly. Cannon participates in a research program to help find a cure not just for himself but those who are diagnosed in the future. This earned him the MPN Hero award.
Most days you can find Cannon out on the court working on his shot, but it wasn’t too long ago that he had to put down the ball to focus on his health.
“When he was told he couldn’t play basketball that really hurt,” Cannon’s mom Ann McMullin said.
Cannon was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer at just eight years old.
“When they told me he had ET, Essential Thrombocytosis, I had no idea what it was,” Ann said.
The good news is Cannon can live a relatively normal life. The bad news is it’s a disease he’ll constantly battle for the rest of his life.
“He has to take oral chemotherapy everyday. His platelet count can get so high that it puts him at risk for a heart attack or stroke a blood clot.,” Ann said.
When doctors told Cannon about a research program to study ET he jumped at the chance.
“Even though he knew it might mean a couple extra sticks with the needle, maybe an extra bone marrow biopsy, having his information out there didn’t bother him at all. He said ‘momma I’ve got to do this,” Ann said.
The probability is they won’t find a cure for Cannon but this research could lead to a cure for those diagnosed in the future.
“I want to find a cure not just for myself but everybody else,” Cannon said.
Cannon and his family went to Orlando, Florida where he was honored as CURE Media Group’s2019 MPN Heroes winner in the commitment to the individual category for his participation in the research group. He hopes to continue raising awareness for the disease.