“High $5 Cash for Nash” Random Kindness Campaign
5-year-old, Nash Zobell, has had Cancer (Leukemia) since 2014 … Nash and his Family desperately need our Love, Hope and Support … The road has been long with ups and downs. It is far from over as Nash still has 2 1/2 years of Chemotherapy left … there are sure to be many more “ups and downs” to come.
With our prayers of hope, healing, and strength for Nash and his family. We all “together” can be a part of a “Random Kindness Miracle”. Please join us in our “High $5 Cash for Nash” Random Kindness Campaign, and help Nash battle Leukemia and win!
Give Nash a “High 5” by donating 5 dollars or more to his campaign!
Nash Zobell and Family Biography:
On day one at Primary Children’s Hospital we were told to expect ONE day at the hospital to cost anywhere between $5,000 – $8,000! A bag of chemotherapy to run between $2,000 – $4,000 … not to mention travel expenses, food, missed work and daily medicines and supplies needed at home. We are thankful for the coverage our insurance offers, but there have also been many changes and times that some of the “high risk” medications or compound medicines Nash needs in order to beat cancer have not been covered. Your love, prayers, hope, and support for Nash are greatly appreciated!
This is the story of our little boy Nash and his battle with cancer.
On August 3rd, 2010 our lives were blessed with a handsome and healthy little boy, Nash O’Leary Zobell. His older siblings, Kiysa, Hayden, Shelby and Easton loved their new little brother and his parents, Coby and Kaylene, adored the new addition to their growing family. Before long, Nash became a big brother to his little sisters, Ari and Vynn. Kaylene is expecting another baby girl on Nash’s birthday of this year.
The summer of 2014 was full of baseball, friends, dance, family reunions, picnics at the park in the warm sunshine and swimming at the pool. The days were busy and we thought nothing more than growing pains when Nash would complain about the aches in his legs and he felt worn out and tired. There were some days that he would say he could not walk because his legs hurt too badly. He would get bloody noses and some nights he’d wake with fear and even anger from night terrors. Other nights Coby or I would check on him because we could hear grunting and other strange noises, but found Nash fast asleep. It was here and there and not an everyday occasion; so as parents we really didn’t worry about what later we would find out were “symptoms”.
Before we knew it, school started again for the older kids and the routines of waking up early to get ready for the day began. Hobbies after school continued along with homework and reading. I had been elected as the PTA President at the elementary school for the 2014/15 school year so many mornings and afternoons were spent at the elementary dragging Nash and Ari along with me. Nash started to tell people that “my mom has a job now” because of how frequently we were at the school. I have been blessed since having children to be able to stay home with them, so being at the school so much was a change for all of us. One evening when I was conducting a meeting and had Nash and Ari with me he got a really bad bloody nose. I had to stop the meeting and take care of him, of course. The blood just would not stop! I remember feeling embarrassed and asked a board member to take over for me so I could leave. As I was grabbing my things someone made the remark (in a kidding manner) “you can’t even stop a bloody nose and you’re going to have another baby?” I wondered if they were right and and was crying by the time we reached the car to go home.
I specifically remember one weekend in the fall when we were in Mesquite, Nevada-several hours from our home. Nash said he “could not walk” and Coby carried him around like a baby. We were watching Hayden’s football team in the play offs so the day was long and hot. Coby sat Nash in a small chair and he slept soundly for hours. For several days after this trip he hobbled around with legs that ached. We were sure he had fallen and forgotten about it even though we could not see any bumps and bruises that were out of the ordinary for an active little boy!
It was around this same time of year that Nash turned his head just right and Coby noticed in the sunlight that there appeared to be a lump on the back of Nash’s neck. As he started to look and feel the back of his neck closer he came across swollen lymph nodes-one on each side of his neck that were of pretty good size, but really only noticeable if caught at the right angle. However, within a very short time from that we felt lymph nodes swollen all over the back of his neck and head. Coby immediately said that he “had a sickening feeling and we needed to get him checked out right away.”
I called his pediatrician that very day and we were seen later that afternoon. Nash’s doctor did not seem worried after questioning us about symptoms of fever or sickness of any kind. We were all relieved when the blood results came back and it was determined that Nash was anemic. I am anemic as well, so it was no surprise. He just needed some extra iron and a simple iron vitamin would do the trick! His doctor did suggest that if we felt it necessary we could take Nash to see a specialist and despite not feeling worried we chose to take the referral. A few days later more blood was drawn and results came back a bit out of the ordinary, but again, no cause for worry. We were asked if doing a biopsy of the lymph nodes on the neck would be something we wanted to do or just let them be and “surely they would go away within some time.”
I must admit it was Coby who was the one who insisted on the biopsy. I don’t know if I was just confident in the doctor’s word or if I just didn’t feel the need because the doctors were not acting like it was even something to be concerned about, but we agreed to do the biopsy and had the procedure scheduled for the following week. It was a Monday, the 10th of November 2014 that Nash underwent anesthesia for the removal of the lymph nodes. Things went well and for the rest of the day Nash was pretty out of it and just relaxed on the couch. The following day changed our world forever!
It was the 11th of November and I felt bad that I was missing the Veteran’s Day program at the elementary where Shelby was performing, but I knew Nash needed me more. I was sitting on the couch with Nash when his pediatrician called. I was actually thinking to myself that here I was holding my perfect 4-year-old boy and was supposed to be the one comforting him as he was not feeling well from the events of the previous day, but it was actually him bringing comfort to me. The doctor asked if I was sitting down and then told me that my husband and I needed to come to his office as soon as possible because he needed to speak with us about the biopsy and didn’t want to have that conversation over the phone. My whole body seemed to go lifeless. Dread and fear overwhelmed me and how I was able to drive to the office I do not know because I was a wreck! I think I was still dazed and confused as the pediatrician spoke to us because I don’t remember a lot of the conversation other than we needed to take Nash to Primary Children’s Hospital right away. They had been notified that we were coming and would be expecting us.
Doctors and nurses wasted no time to begin what was “routine” to them to determine Nash’s diagnoses. Blood work, echocardiogram, physical exam, urine sample, etc. were performed. To the touch they could feel that Nash’s kidneys were enlarged. I remember feeling so helpless and even like a failure as a mother that I didn’t know that he had enlarged kidneys. I was the one that helped bathe him and dress him and saw him every day and I didn’t notice that his body had changed. When his oncologist said out loud that Nash had “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or ALL” I questioned if she was sure. Maybe that is a common response after hearing that your child has been diagnosed with cancer or maybe I just couldn’t bear the words that were coming from her mouth, but I wondered why the doctor’s at home seemed to give us more hope. She answered my question with a response that I have had to have faith in from that moment on which was something along the lines of this: “We see cancer in this hospital every day. We know what to look for, we recognize the symptoms and we are working on mastering the treatments given in hopes that one day there will be a cure!”
That first week plus spent at the hospital with Nash was full of questions and answers, tears of joy and fear, much learning and growth and countless prayers of faith! Coby and I reflected on the decision we had made in early spring to pray for challenges and trials in order to become more perfected in our faith and determination to follow our Savior, Jesus Christ. No one gets to choose their hard ships in life, but this was our innocent child we are talking about and never would we have chosen this for our learning and growth! As doctors and nurses came and went from this small room that would become like home to us I couldn’t help, but wonder how anyone could ever work in a children’s hospital. Wasn’t it just devastating day after day to see these precious children endure such pain and suffering and watch their parents struggle to bring any kind of understanding to their sweet babies? I must say that before we left for home after that first stay at PCH my opinion had drastically changed. There were all the reasons in the world to be a part of the care and support given to families and children alike in this incredible hospital.
It was very difficult for the rest of our children to be home without their parents and brother, although under the constant care of loving family and friends. Of course they were filled with confusion and many questions as well. School, hobbies and daily routines continued as usual while their parents and brother were nearly 4 hours away trying to determine the best care and recovery for Nash. Coby and I both had much to learn in order to care for Nash while at home. We both were very intimidated as we wondered if we would be able to do a sufficient job of taking care of a sick boy at home. Within 2 days of his initial diagnoses Nash underwent surgery to have a port put in his chest right above his heart where chemotherapy would be given and a bone marrow biopsy was preformed to determine the amount of blast cells (cancerous cells) in his body. Coby and I both had blood work done to see who was a match for Nash. I am not a match and Coby was actually “too perfect” of a match!! It’s so like Coby to be too perfect!!! Nash’s doctors were thrilled that I was pregnant because the cord blood and stem cells could be frozen and stored after delivery with a high likelihood that a full sibling would be a match if a bone marrow transplant was necessary after all treatment for Nash had been received. We were told “your son’s bone marrow is FULL of cancer” and again I questioned what I could have done differently. I just kept thinking “I didn’t know he was sick. I had no clue that his night terrors and bloody noses were signs of Leukemia. I wish I had known that achy legs and feeling worn out were symptoms of cancer and not just a part of growing or having a busy day.” Of course, his oncologist assured me that 99% of kids that have these same symptoms are just a normal part of growing up, but then there is the one time that they are anything but normal and that was the case for Nash.
There were sleepless nights, days filled with nausea, headaches, and pain in Nash’s legs and back specifically-he was carried or rode in a stroller much of the time and would let us know if he couldn’t walk or climb the stairs. No more preschool for Nash, which also meant no more teaching preschool for me. No more going to church or building a snowman with friends. On occasion we could have guests in our home, but for the most part we had to keep any extra germs far away when Nash was home to avoid exposing him to any kind of sickness that his weak body could not handle. Holiday parties and birthdays were supported by a part of the family while the other parent stayed at home or in the hospital with Nash. We all became experts in washing our hands more frequently than ever before! Hand sanitizer was in every room and disinfecting the house was a daily chore when Nash and I were home rather than every week or so.
The large amount of steroids and other medicines Nash was on took a toll on his body as well. We were warned that the steroids would make him ornery and have side effects that were not of his natural self and it was difficult to experience some of these changes that were so unfamiliar to us as a part of our son and brother. We all had to practice a lot of patience with him and we took turns giving in to him from time to time. The Nash we knew became impatient, angry and the boy who was known by himself to be a “working man while his friends played” was one without energy or even the desire to be active. Keeping him fed was a full time job-even during all hours of the night- while he was on his high dose steroids.
I chose to give up my duties as PTA president to someone who could perform the necessary tasks in a timely manner and Coby sadly gave up being head coach of Hayden’s Little League baseball team. We were both released from our church callings which was a blessing, but we were in need of the service of others more than ever before and being relieved of our volunteer services was disappointing. Coby and I both agreed that trying to keep life as “normal” as possible for the rest of our family was very important. We could not do this without the help and support of many helping hands to take our kids to their extracurricular activities and to cheer them on when they had games or performances we would have to miss. Other than going to the hospital Nash rarely left home, so we were very dependent on others to help get children to and fro. Coby always took the kids to church and helped with the children as much as possible as he strived to work as many days as possible. We never left home without nausea bags and masks. It was the dead of winter, but even on warmer days, Nash would still shiver from feeling cold. Priorities quickly changed and we instantly learned to never take for granted the “good days” that Nash had.
Worry came from the effects of watching our child battle cancer and as parents we both felt completely helpless at times. We would have done anything to take the pain and suffering from our child if possible. It was on more than one occasion that during the months of November and December I wondered how to lessen the pressure that was surely stressing the dear child growing and developing inside of me, but I did not know how to better control my anxieties of taking care of a sick boy.
On January 5, 2015 our beautiful red-headed Vynn unexpectedly was born. She was over 5 weeks early and was very tiny, but healthy. Coby was out of town on work assignments so I drove myself to the hospital and he arrived as soon as he was able. Vynn surprised the doctors that her lungs were fully functional and she never needed oxygen. The umbilical cord was only a few inches long, but it was saved along with enough blood to store. I was concerned about all the blood that was coming from our baby girl’s body. This wasn’t my first child and it was not something that I would have forgotten to be routine. It wasn’t until the next day that my OB told me that my placenta had ruptured (likely due to stress) and that had I not come to the hospital when I did it was highly likely that I would not be holding my baby girl today and that I could have lost my life as well. Needless to say, Vynn was our miracle baby! Despite coming to us under trying circumstances she was never a stress or burden. She was a light for us all and so easy to fall in love with. I think she knew she had to be a very patient and happy baby to come to this crazy Zobell family!
In the middle of that same night Nash got a fever… and for a cancer kiddo that is life threatening-even at 101 degrees F. So while I was in one hospital with Vynn, Nash and Coby were in another. He was neutropenic (no immune system or very low white blood count) and continued to fever on and off for several days, but eventually came home on antibiotics that were given to him every 8 hours through his port until he was well again.
Nash’s oncologist talked to us about low risk, average risk and high risk patients. She did not know where Nash would be for the rest of his treatment, but for whatever reason Coby and I both felt like Nash was a “high risk” patient. Not long after this conversation, our feelings proved to be valid and Nash was put on a “high risk” arm because the blast cells were not leaving his body as quickly as his team of doctors and oncologists had hoped! Because of this he would go through a phase from February through May of 2015 called delayed intensification. It was beyond intense for those long stays at Primary Children’s Hospital.
The hospital is very strict on who can enter patient rooms and I was sure to get the “ok” that I could bring my brand new, premie baby with me to be with Nash and I during this DI phase. It was early evening on that first day there when I was told that Vynn could not stay with us. I had confirmed twice that they would make an exception because of our situation and the distance of the hospital from our home and now I was being asked if someone could sit with Nash while I took Vynn home. Well, home for her was 4 hours away and I did not have a friend down the street or someone that I trusted around the corner to stay with my son while I drove her back home. Before calling Coby with the news that Vynn could not stay at the hospital with us I talked with anyone that was willing to listen to my plea that I had a 4-pound nursing baby girl that needed her mother and a 4-year-old boy that needed his mother just as much! I felt like I literally had to choose between 2 needy children when I made the decision to stay with Nash and have Coby drive up and back that very night to take Vynn home. It was heart breaking for me to make this difficult decision. Nor was it easy for Coby to juggle working, baby sitters, homework, rides for the older kids to get to and from activities, and a baby that was up every 2-3 hours of every night. We were blessed once again with countless hours of help and selfless service!
There were few times that Nash and I were able to leave his hospital room because his counts were so low during this phase. Talk about feeling “cooped up.” The child life specialists were very good to bring games, play dough, toys, puzzles, story books, movies and a fun gift every once in a while to pass the time. Nash played BINGO by television nearly every morning from his bed that he was confined to. We would face time each night with family and friends-technology was a great blessing for us all. Sunday’s I would sometimes get to slip away to a short sacrament meeting that was offered which brought much peace and a great deal of comfort for me. When Nash was well enough sister missionaries would bring a coloring page and share a simple message and song with us. Nash was always very aware when I left the room to go to the bathroom, shower or even grab a bite to eat. I wanted to be with him as much as he needed me to be with him. There were times when I would ask him what he needed and he’d take a hold of me and say “you.” The tears would immediately come without being able to stop them. Nash did very little eating during these long days at the hospital, but he constantly had an IV running fluids into him and he was required to go to the bathroom once every hour-day and night. That was exhausting for us both! The chemotherapy was something that his body needed in order to kill the cancer, but it was also so extreme that it was to enter the body and do its job and then they wanted it out of there as fast as possible. Every day was much the same it seemed. One friend compared it to “Groundhog Day” which I thought was very fitting.
There is good reason that these kiddos that have to go through DI are required to stay at the hospital for the extreme doses of chemotherapy. Because of the great risk it is to their bodies they are monitored very closely. During blood transfusions Nash was watched for an hour after the transfusion was complete to make sure his body accepted the new blood-the good and lifesaving blood we are so thankful for given by selfless donors. On one occasion his doctors assumed he needed blood and platelets because of his lab results along with his fatigued body and color. This was a very normal procedure and one that he had experienced several times before and always had great results. It was well after the blood and platelets were given that his counts stayed low, he was having trouble breathing, his body ached and his heart rate was abnormal. He was comfortless and there were no answers as to why his body was struggling as it was. Of course chemotherapy was put on hold, but now he was hooked up to antibiotics and oxygen and was even given intravenous gas to try and figure out what was happening inside of his body. After numerous tests, x-rays, and even some guessing as to what was wrong with our Nash it was suggested that there was too much liquid around Nash’s heart. He had an echocardiogram right away and the results showed nothing unusual with his heart, so the heart murmur and the difficulties he was having were still unknown.
As I mentioned before, the ICU is a very secure unit so it was a quick in and out for the missionaries that I called in to give Nash a blessing. From there I talked to a friend at home and she helped spread word to family, friends and neighbors for a special day of fasting and prayer for our precious boy. We needed answers in order to find the right “cure” for Nash and without those answers it continued to be a guessing game. For days there were new doctor’s and specialist’s from both Primary Children’s Hospital and the University of Utah that came to our room in hopes of finding a solution. The next guess was that he had pneumonia that was hiding detection from the tests thus far given. I was told that Nash might have a type of pneumonia that “hides in the body” but the strange thing was that during all of this he never spiked a fever and this was concerning to the doctor’s as well. We had always been told fever is the first sign to watch for and he never got over 100 degrees F, but his little body was acting as if it was shutting down. Nash had also never missed a dose of the pills he took weekly to keep pneumonia away.
Without any answers, without any reason beyond what we see as a miracle Nash woke up 5 days after his initial symptoms and clearly was feeling better. It was like he had never been sick at all-he was suddenly good as new! It was decided that little by little they would decrease the oxygen until he no longer needed it at all. His doctor’s continued to watch him closely and were happy with how well he was doing but were unhappy with the fact that they had no answers to give as to why his body had struggled like it had. I do not have the words to accurately express the gratitude I felt that I had my Nash back and like never before enjoyed Play Dough, coloring and playing Candy Land.
Nash is 5-years-old now and fighting like a champ! He still visits Primary Children’s Hospital for lumbar punctures where 3 types of chemo are put into his spine and go to his brain and he receives another treatment in his port which is just above his heart. He takes oral chemo, steroids and other infection fighting medicines morning and night at home. I believe his record number of pills he’s been able to swallow all at once is 14! You could say he likes to just get it over with! To date, his doctors project he will need another 2 1/2 years of treatment in order to beat cancer!
There’s not much these days that can keep Nash down. Even when his energy is low or he’s nauseated or feeling pain in his back or legs he is a “goer.” He is a “working man” that is “built Nash tough”! He loves to dig and build hauling wood, nails and any tool he can get a hold of around the yard to work on various projects. His mind is constantly thinking of the next think he “has” to do!
Nash loves baseball. He has watched his older brothers play for all of his life and has longed for the day that he would play on a team of his own! We hope he will get that opportunity this year with machine pitch. He loves to hang out with his grandpa Ken whenever he can and calls him nearly every day to ask “grandpa, do you know what you’re doing today?” We also hope he will be well enough to attend Kindergarten in the Fall.
We could not fight this battle without the compassion and support we have been blessed with over the last year plus. We have had many heart aches, but without a doubt we have been blessed beyond measure by the generosity of those around us and we thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts! The technology and advancement in medicine have come a long way over the years and we know Nash can beat Leukemia and go on to live a happy, healthy and successful life!!!
Much Love, The Coby and Kaylene Zobell Family
Find us on Facebook at 4Nash and Instagram #builtnashtough