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Evan's Story

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“We were just devastated. We never expected to get this news,” shared Debbie McKinney as she reflected on her son Evan’s diagnosis. In the beginning of 2022, Evan began holding less and less food in his stomach.

evan and bell

What began as a dull ache, intensified into nonstop, severe stomach pain that went on for about two weeks. Debbie scheduled an appointment with Evan’s pediatrician hoping for a minor issue that could be resolved with simple treatment. After being examined, Evan’s doctor noticed a large mass in his abdomen and recommended that he should be taken to the AdventHealth for Children.

Evan was diagnosed with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma at the early age of 16 and began chemotherapy on day ten of his hospital stay. He would spend over 100 days (about three and a half months) in the hospital between March and December 2022. Evan went through rigorous chemotherapy, taking on 15 big treatments, 30 small treatments, and 60 days of radiation.

Evan would also receive care from the Child Life Specialist team, who understood the value of providing whole person care. Thanks to the team, Evan was able to attend game nights, participate in music therapy, and even make lasting friendships with other patients during his time in the hospital. “I’m glad I brought him to AdventHealth. I’m happy with the treatment,” shared Debbie as she reflected on her decision to take Evan to AdventHealth for Children.

evan mario

Though AdventHealth improves the quality of life for our cancer patients, finding a cure for cancer is what we are striving for. Clinical trials provide access to some of the most advanced treatment options while research studies help us find new ways to prevent and detect cancer and improve the quality of life for cancer patients.

On May 30, Evan will be joining other cancer patients in a Mario Kart relay race called Racing for Cancer Research through AdventHealth’s Play it Forward program. The funds raised through this event will go directly to supporting the race to finding a cure for cancer. You can join Evan in the race to finding a cure and give today.

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