3-year-old terminally ill boy defying odds

Local News

The 3-year-old little boy you’re about to meet was told he probably wouldn’t see 11-years-old because of an extremely rare disease. But now, he’s living weeks past what doctors predicted.

“I remember one of the drug trials, the doctor said, “we just don’t know past the point of where y’all are at right now,” said Leland Atchley, Korbin’s dad.  

The Atchely family found out in August that their 3-year-old son, Korbin, had a rare brain cancer. Something doctors hadn’t even done research on. 

“It’s Anaplastic Ependymoma. The tumors, as they build up, it presses against the motor functions and when it presses against the motor functions it shuts that side down like a stroke. So his left arm isnt working properly, it kind of comes in waves a little bit,” says Autumn Atchley, Korbin’s mom.   

According to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Anaplastic Ependymoma is a one in a million brain cancer and doctors see about 200 cases worldwide.

 Autumn says doctors gave her son a 35 percent chance of living until the age of 10. Korbin relapsed in November and his odds dropped from 35 percent to 20 percent.  From there, she says the odds kept falling. 

”When we had three more tumors relapse, our odds went down to about 10 percent. Now we’re in about the 1-5 percent of surviving range,” she says.  

If you saw Korbin, you’d never guess that he was terminally ill. He’s often watching videos on his kindle. But when he’s up… he’s up.    

Autumn says one day, they came home from the hospital, and her son was different.  

“The next day, he woke me up, and he said “mommy, Jesus came to see me and I’m not sick anymore. They’re gonna get better. He kept running around saying, I feel better, I feel better.” They told us that he had days to weeks left and that he wouldn’t make it 10 weeks by no means, and we’re 12 weeks past that now,“ she said.  

Spontaneous remission was what the doctors called it. But they couldn’t get too comfortable because he could pass at any moment. So they helped him make a bucket list with all the things he wanted to do. One of those things… 

”I’m ready for California. I’m going to swim with (my brother) Kason,” said Korbin.  

California, airplanes and swimming with the dolphins are a few things on Korbin’s bucket list.  The Atchelys say they just want their son to be happy.

”Maintain that quality of life and keep him as comfortable as possible. At least,” said Autumn. 

The Atchelys are going to visit a church called Bethel whose pastor they say has healing powers. They hope their son will be healed while they’re there. 

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