young cancer survivor, his parent and care team
Ian Tebo, 7, remains cancer-free more than 18 months after his surgery. Michael and Christy Tebo, Ian’s parents, credit their son’s physical therapist, Christine Hofmann, with helping their son make big strides in his recovery.

O n the first school day of this year, second-grader Ian Tebo walked into class—on his own. “To this day, he’s the strongest person I know,” says Christy Tebo, Ian’s mother. “He makes me think the world isn’t a bad place, after all.”

For the Tebo family, their world seemed a bad place when on Jan. 4, 2016, 5-year-old Ian was diagnosed with adamantinoma, a rare bone cancer of the right tibia. That previous summer, Ian had fractured his right leg while playing at day care. He spent six weeks in a cast. At the time, Christy sensed something wasn’t right with her son’s leg. “Call it mother’s intuition,” she says. “I wanted a second opinion about Ian’s leg. We were able to finally see a bone tumor specialist that December. That’s when we found out.”

Ian underwent successful surgery for his cancer in February 2016. His leg in yet another cast, he recovered for five months before starting physical rehabilitation.

“Ian did all the exercises. We made our sessions into fun routines.”

In March 2017, Ian began working with Christine Hofmann, PT, a pediatric physical therapist with Golisano Children’s Hospital. Ian progressed quickly with Christine, and within weeks was able to hold himself up while sitting on his right side. “He’s a real fighter,” Christine says. “Ian went right ahead into the exercises. His family is really great to work with, too. Ian did all the exercises. We made our sessions into fun routines.”

Michael Tebo, Ian’s father, says his son’s progress is unmistakable. “He has so much more confidence,” he says. “He plays now, when he used to be scared to play with his friends. Now he comes in jumping around and excited to show the new skills he was previously scared to do.”

“You can’t stop him if you tried,” Christy says. “We’ve enrolled him in swimming lessons, and this past summer he also started Tae Kwon Do. He passed his first belt test last July. There’s also soccer, basketball, and football. He just loves to move.

Tags: Golisano Childrne's Hospital of Southwest Florida, Pediatic Hematology/Oncology, pediatric cancer care, rehabilitation, physical therapy