VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Seven-year-old Xavier Noris was too weak to eat solid food and too weak to participate in a Zoom interview Sunday.
Xavier, who loves football and making people laugh, tried to offer a smile and comment on camera but told his mother he just didn’t feel well.
Xavier has a tumor the size of a grapefruit on his left kidney.
Like many parents with children newly diagnosed with cancer, Henry and Nikysha Noris have been asking themselves, “How did we miss this?”
In late January, Nikysha Noris took Xavier to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters after the athletic second-grader complained of stomach pain. She suspected COVID-19, and after testing, doctors confirmed he had been infected with the novel coronavirus.
Within two weeks, he had completely recovered and had no complaints. Then, everything in the family’s world changed on Feb. 16. Xavier spotted blood in his urine and immediately called for his brother, 9-year-old Devyn. Devyn alerted their mother, who immediately sought medical attention. Her son’s primary care provider ordered an ultrasound, spotted a serious problem and told the family to report to CHKD immediately to be seen by doctors in the oncology unit.
“In literally one day, I found out my son had a tumor, the name of the tumor, and that it was stage 3 and he got admitted — all in one day,” said Nikysha Noris.
Xavier was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor. According to Cancer.net, a website with information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, about 550 children are diagnosed with this type of cancer every year. The four-year survival rate for certain stage 3 cases is 95% to 100%.
Nikysha Noris’s husband, Henry, a Merchant Marine, was just pulling into port when doctors broke the news that Xavier had cancer. The parents were told surgery to remove the tumor is typically performed as soon as possible. But because the tumor had wrapped around a major artery that delivers blood to the lower body, the tumor could not be surgically removed.
Doctors installed a suprapubic catheter after a blood clot formed in Xavier’s bladder. The treatment protocol includes six weeks of chemotherapy followed by removal of the affected kidney in early April.
Nikysha Noris, who in the past has hosted lemonade stands to raise money for children at CHKD, is now spending days and nights at the hospital watching over her son. She is grateful for the care and attention offered by doctors and other professionals there.
“When they use words like, ‘We are going to fight this together to be OK,’ I knew at that point they took on my son as one of theirs,” said Nikysha Noris.
There’s been an outpouring of support for Xavier. Members of the Noris’ church family at World Harvest Kingdom Church in Newport News have sponsored a cancer awareness march set for Saturday morning at a park in Chesapeake.
Organizer Donte Davis has also established a Facebook support page on which he asks that you walk in support of Xavier.
Additionally, he has established a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses associated with Xavier’s care.
“We have strangers who are tagging run for Xavier or ‘run for X.’ The outpouring of support from people we didn’t know is truly appreciated,” Davis said.