Collin Trask just may be the toughest kid at Seaholm.He’s never scored a touchdown or beaten up a freshman for lunch money. He doesn’t drag race out to lunch and he doesn’t stand six feet tall. But Collin has been in the fight of his life for four years.
Collin has cancer.
In late 2007, Collin was a typical seventh grader at Derby Middle School. He lived a normal life in his house in Troy with his parents and was an avid sports fan. Even during school, he could frequently be found sporting his trademark Green Bay Packers hat. For a moment, life was perfect.
A period began where Collin spent several weeks losing weight and feeling incredibly sick. Vomiting daily was enough for Collin’s pediatrician to refer him to several doctors, yet none of them were able to pinpoint what the problem was. Early November came, and the sickness was not fading, so doctors sent him for an MRI at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, located in Detroit.
On Saturday, November 3, the diagnosis came in. Collin had a Medulloblastoma in his cerebellum, the part of the brain which controls basic motor functions.
“A Medulloblastoma is a cancerous tumor which grows typically out of brain tissue,” said Martin Holland, MD, a neurosurgeon out of Tyler, Texas. Dr. Holland is not associated with Trask. “They can be cured and controlled, but it’s a long and difficult process.”
The following day, he underwent surgery to have the tumor removed.
“I remember intense pain and a burning feeling,” Trask said.
Collin began a relatively new system for treatment. He would follow a regular process of Radiation and Chemotherapy along with an infusion of his own stem cells into his body to help his immune system fight off the foreign cells. He was informed that it would be a very long and difficult process.
A total of thirty radiation treatments began in December 2007 and were once a day, five days a week, for six weeks. The process was grueling and exhausting, wiping out Collin physically and mentally. He was treated through the holidays into the beginning of 2008.
Colin returned for his eighth grade year. The transition back to school was difficult, but he was successful in maintaining his grades with the help of caring staff. He was even able to attend a two week trip to China with his eighth grade Chinese class. Collin was able to participate in most of the activities and never complained.
In February of 2009, Rainbow Connection, a Michigan based group similar to Make-a- Wish, granted Collin the chance to go to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida. Collin attended with a close friend and had a second wish come true when the Steelers won, as he had hoped.
During this time, Collin got to know several people who were struggling with the same disease.
“I get a lot of tips from them and share some of my own,” Trask said. “We also share stories.”
After a generally quiet year, a heartbreaking nightmare came true. An MRI unearthed the presence of three newly formed tumors in his brain and spine. A less aggressive course was taken this time, with the hope for less surgery and unneeded trauma.
As of May 2010, the tumors had significantly shrunk, thanks to the treatments. However traces of cancer still remained.
Collin has been successful in maintaining a positive attitude through his experience.
“I think a lot,” Trask said. “You have to realize that there’s no reason to worry about things that are beyond your control, and just do things to make life more enjoyable.”
Since resuming Chemotherapy treatments on October 30, Collin has been confined to his house, but keeps up with school work thanks to the help loving staff in the building.
“He’s a really great kid,” Rochelle Rogers said, Collin’s Psychology teacher who teaches him at home. “He’s extremely bright and just the sweetest.”
On November 2, Seaholm’s RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) club held a special meeting to make “get well” cards for Colin. Over forty cards were made in support, each wishing him a speedy recovery and hope for the future.
“It was great to see so many people show their support for Collin,” RAK president Will Sheehan said. “Everyone was so eager to make sure he was doing alright.”
Collin has been back at Children’s Hospital, receiving his most recent treatments for chemotherapy, which seem to be successful. He is currently homebound and will not be returning to school soon. However, most recent MRIs show a significant decrease in cancer cells on the spinal cord.
“You have to learn not to waste life,” Collin said. “The best times are ones spent with people you enjoy being with.”
You can follow Collin’s progress at his Care Page sitehttp:// www.carepages.com/carepages/Col-