Ann Collett used to dread 7:30 p.m.
At a time when many mothers across Gainesville were putting their young children to bed, Ann was preparing her son’s nightly chemo treatment.
William, an eighth-grader at Queen of Peace Catholic Academy, had been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia since he was just 10 years old. Forty months of treatment later, William officially beat pediatric cancer on Sept. 14.
In May of 2017, William was an “avid sports enthusiast,” playing basketball, running cross country and participating in track and field for his school. He was finishing fourth grade and was, by all accounts, a healthy kid.
“Everything just sort of came out of nowhere,” Ann recounts. “We went to our family pediatrician, Mary Grooms, M.D., FAAN, [Monday morning]. By late Monday afternoon, we were at Shands.”
William had been slowing down and getting headaches and bruises in recent weeks. The Colletts would come to find that these were signs associated with leukemia.
When William was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, Ann and husband, Tom, were shocked. Although they had known William was under the weather, cancer had been the last thing on their minds.
“He had been running a 5k just a couple of weeks before,” Ann said. “It was all kind of surprising.”
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