Family fighting rare childhood cancer

May 17—Paige Williams saw her future in providing care to the sick. Upon her 2017 graduation from Huntsville High School, Williams would begin studying nursing at Lone Star College, with plans to transfer into Sam Houston State University to complete her studies.

That all came to a halt, when news no parent wants to hear arrived — her only son had cancer.

Just over a year ago, then 3-year-old Malachi, was observed breathing more shallowly than usual. His mother, a self-described worrier, immediately took him to Texas Children's Hospital in the Woodlands for testing.

"They missed it the first several times," said Williams. "But eventually, we demanded a cat-scan that showed Malachi's heart was on his right side, his lung had collapsed, and a tumor was on his left side instead."

The family would get a crash course in Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB). According to the National Organization of Rare Diseases, PPB, "is a rare childhood cancer occurring in the chest, specifically in the lungs or in the coverings of the lungs called 'pleura.'"

Studies claim that only 25-50 cases of PPB are diagnosed in the United States each year. Malachi has Type II according to Williams.

"Type II is when they have both hard and soft tumors," Williams said.

Malachi is being treated at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston now.

Malachi recently underwent an intense 8-week chemotherapy regimen.

"The doctors say without chemo, his tumors would double in size in eight days," said Williams. "If we aren't able to stop the tumors from growing, they're saying we can't go through with surgery to remove it."

Williams says Malachi is predicted to only have six to eight weeks without chemo and surgery.

Complicating matters is the fact that Williams' husband, James, was kicked off his insurance after having taken too much personal time from work.

"Despite everything that's challenging us — Malachi gives us hope," said James Williams. "He's fighting what I know some adults couldn't handle."

Now a conductor at BNSF Railway, U.S. Marine. (Ret.) James is working to restore his benefits and still figure out how to remain present with his son.

The Williams herald the work of current physician Dr. Valeria Smith for her tireless efforts to find an answer.

"Malachi was energetic, loved outside, and especially swings," said Paige. "We never would have had an idea what was growing inside him."

James says Malachi is staying positive, and responding decently to the newest form of chemo Malachi received — ice chemotherapy.

"For four days, he took this more intense form of chemo and he seems to be responding with fewer side-effects for now," said Paige.

"We will get results in three weeks from the success of these latest tests," said James.

The Williams cite the power of prayer, presence of family, and the organizing strength of their friends, with helping them stay strong. LaTeel Richardson has taken to GoFundMe to raise money for Malachi's family. At printing, some $8,500 had been raised of a $30,000 goal.

The Williams urge parents to be vigilant, especially around the breathing of their children.

"Had we ignored it, it could be much worse," said Paige.

To contribute to the GoFundMe set up for Malachi visit:

The family will also host a sausage wrap/pulled pork fundraiser at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Samuel Walker Houston Cultural Center, 1604 10th Street.