Matthew and Mark, Ages 4 years and 18 months, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL); Rhabdoid Liver Tumor

Hope for Two Brothers Fighting Cancer

Phillip and Mona Lang vividly remember the sinking feeling that hit them when they were told that their 4-year-old son, Matthew, had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in the summer of 2005.

(2006) – “I blamed myself as a parent,” said Phillip.  “I dropped to my knees, and asked God what did wrong that my child was so sick.”

Phillip and Mona brought Matthew to Texas Children’s Cancer Center to begin rounds of chemotherapy to treat ALL—the most common form of childhood cancer.  As the one-year anniversary of Matthew’s diagnosis approached, the Langs noticed that their 18-month-old son, Mark, began to have trouble feeding.
“His belly was extremely swollen so doctors performed a biopsy on Mark’s liver—and that’s when our devastation grew into a nightmare,” said Phillip.

Mark was diagnosed with a malignant rhabdoid tumor on his liver a year—almost to the day—after Matthew’s cancer diagnosis.  The rare and aggressive cancer had also begun to spread cancerous lesions onto Mark’s tiny lungs.

“The news was almost unbearable, but my wife and I knew that we couldn’t give up hope because I know that my boys would never give up,” said Phillip.  “We as a family had to continue to have faith and trust in our doctors because this is where children’s lives are saved every day,” he said.

Supported by their family and friends, the brothers both continued to receive treatment at the Cancer Center.

Amazingly, Matthew responded to his first treatment of chemotherapy, and today he’s a precocious, karate-loving 5-year-old—in complete remission.  Mark’s liver and lung tumors are now shrinking thanks to treatments he received at the Cancer Center, and physicians are waiting until the tumors are small enough to remove surgically, said Phillip.

The fight is by no means over yet—but this brave family is certain that both boys have received the best care.

“Texas Children’s symbolizes hope,” he said.  “What I love most about Texas Children’s is knowing that we never had to worry that our children would be turned away because of our finances.”

“I would encourage everyone to support Texas Children’s so that hope can prosper there and so that hundreds of other lives can be saved,” he added.