Carter Lights the Way for Kids Like Him

Carter knows sports. Fact after fact, figure after figure. An avid fan of nearly every athlete, then 5-year-old Carter was always on the move, researching players and playing every sport he could. Until one day Carter got a fever that wouldn’t clear up. Fatigue set in. He stopped participating in his favorite sports. Carter’s parents, Nicole and Jason, grew concerned.

A test at Carter’s pediatrician’s office revealed a low platelet count, a sign of infection—or worse, cancer.

Carter was taken to Rady Children’s where leukemia, cancer of blood-forming tissues, was confirmed. The initial rounds of chemotherapy had an inadequate effect on the cancer, so the team started to look for potential donors for bone marrow transplant. The good news was that Carter’s older sister was a perfect match to serve as his bone marrow donor. The best news came a few weeks later when Carter became minimal residual disease negative with his third bone marrow evaluation, meaning he would not need a bone marrow transplant as long as he remained cancer-free.

Now 6 years old, with support from friends, family and some of his biggest idols – professional sports players from teams near and far who recorded videos and rallied behind the brave boy, launching the #CarterStrong movement—Carter battled the fiercest opponent of his young life.

Nicole, Jason and Carter recall their first night at Rady Children’s was on the evening of the Hospital’s inaugural Light the Way event. That night, supporters from across San Diego gathered outside with flashlights and holiday cheer to send good night wishes to all the children who would spend the night in the Hospital. Law enforcement vehicles flashed their lights in a parade around the perimeter signaling a safe passageway to sleep for the kids in the Hospital’s care.

Carter and his family are returning as ambassadors to Light the Way. This year they will join the crowd outside the Hospital to wish sweet dreams to children who need their support—just like Carter did one year ago.

Join Carter at the second annual Rady Children’s Light the Way.

Donate now and help kids like Carter