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Good News: Teen Enjoys Remission, Relationships at Golisano

Children's Health
Author name: Lee Health


“It’s cancer.”

It’s a line we all dread hearing about ourselves or a loved one – and it’s especially difficult to hear and understand when a child is involved.

Lee Sullivan, now 13, was diagnosed with cancer in April 2019. It hasn’t been an easy ride for Lee and his family, who have been working hard and battling every day against T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

He has encountered several complications since diagnosis—the most recent in August when a fungal infection made him septic.

He spent three weeks on life support in the ICU at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, where he was forced to spend his 13th birthday.

The good news? Lee is currently in remission. And doctors have changed his chemotherapy treatment from a delayed intensification cycle to a maintenance cycle.

Chemo will finally end for Lee on Sept. 12, 2021.

More good news? Lee has become an inspiration to Golisano staff members, who now consider him family. And the feeling is mutual.

“I can never thank all the doctors, nurses, technicians, chaplains, pharmacists, social workers, child life, volunteers, and pet therapists enough for the delicate care they provided to my sweet Lee,” said Tanya Sullivan, Lee’s mother. “They always make sure I am involved in his care and make sure I feel heard, which was extremely important to me.”

Tanya Sullivan said the treatment experience has been a positive one from the moment they walked in the front door at Golisano.

“The environment plays a huge role in our treatment because my son never dreads going (to Golisano) but rather looks forward to seeing all the people who always bring a smile to his face,” Tanya Sullivan said.

Lee has since been able to go home and only comes back to Golisano for treatment and visits.

“I'm one forever grateful mother because of the care team at Golisano. Lee's siblings and I get to have him with us now because the great care and measures they took to save his life,” Tanya Sullivan said.

Relationships, connections, family, and inspiration – sometimes it’s all about finding hope in the darkest of times.

“It’s not about how far you have to go - it’s about how far you have come!” Lee wrote in the Cohen Family Gardens at Golisano Children's Hospital.

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