Ten-year-old Lynn Denton has beat a form of leukemia for the second time. He rang the bell at Primary Children’s Hospital on May 4, marking the end of his treatments.
“Lynn is a fighter and not a quitter,” said Susan Hogan Orifici, Denton’s grandmother. “He has conquered it all.”
Lynn was first diagnosed with leukemia in November 2016.
“Lynn was a really bouncy, healthy boy, and he went from that to just laying around the house really weak,” Susan said.
When his family took Lynn to Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele, staff told them to take him to Primary Children’s Hospital right away.
“They admitted them into Primary Children’s Hospital and they sent us to the cancer unit,” Susan said. “When he got in there, he had 100% cancer in his bone marrow.”
Lynn was diagnosed with precursor B-lymphoblastic Leukemia, an aggressive, fast-growing leukemia in which too many B-cell lymphoblasts or immature white blood cells are found in the bone marrow and blood.
Quickly, Lynn was put on chemo treatments which wiped out his immune system completely.
Two weeks later, he contracted a serious bacteria, which caused him to become very ill.
“He had only been home for around three days and he was just really sick,” said Sara Millward, Lynn’s mother. “He was complaining that his ribs hurt and I thought that was weird … He couldn’t even keep water down and he looked like he was zoned out. He was in a lot of pain and I could see his veins really well.”
When Sara called Lynn’s doctor, he said his symptoms were normal.
“The doctor kept telling me that his symptoms sounded normal for someone who was going through chemo and I was just like, no, this isn’t normal,” Sara said. “Sometimes a mother’s instinct is stronger than a doctor’s opinion.”
Despite what the doctor said, Lynn’s family loaded him up into the car and drove him to Primary Children’s Hospital from Grantsville.
Right when he arrived at the hospital, he coded.
“If we wouldn’t have taken him to the hospital, he wouldn’t be here today,” Sara said.
After coding, doctors began performing life-saving measures to try to resuscitate Lynn and with his mother’s love, his heart started beating again.
“There was a team of doctors working on him for 20 minutes,” Susan explained. “He had no heartbeat and they were breathing for him and doing chest compressions … I told his mother to go in there to talk to him and she ran in there and yelled out to him, “I love you”, then she ran out again and immediately his heart started beating again.”
After Lynn was deemed stable, he was placed in a medically induced coma on life support for two weeks in the ICU to give him a fighting chance to beat his sickness.
“They didn’t expect him to make it,” Susan said. “They said that people with immune systems aren’t even able to fight off this bacteria if they contracted it, let alone him [Lynn] who had no immune system … I remember telling his mom that we should just pray. I told her that the doctors were just tools in God’s hands.”
After much prayer and pleading, Lynn recovered and came out of the ICU two weeks later on Christmas Day.
During the time he was sick with the bacteria and during the time he was healing, he coded two more times, for a total of three times.
“They kept telling me, ‘We don’t think your son is going to make it,’” Sara said. “I really thought he wasn’t going to make it.”
After waking up from the coma, Lynn had to go through over five months of physical therapy.
“He was in a wheelchair for a long time and I had to pick him up and carry him places,” Sara said. “It was a lot of work. I would do it again, but it was just so sad for him to go through that and to see a little kid like that.”
“He had to learn how to walk again and he has been fighting ever since,” Susan said.
As soon as Lynn was healthy enough, his chemo treatments were resumed.
After therapy and chemo treatments, Lynn beat cancer the first time two years ago, which left his family hopeful.
Six months later in 2020, at a checkup, it was determined Lynn’s cancer was back.
“The doctors said he relapsed because the first time they did chemo, he was so sick that he didn’t get all of the treatments that he needed,” Sara explained
Lynn started on immunotherapy, a chemo that only attacks cancer cells and not healthy cells. This time, his treatments went smoothly. He beat cancer the second time and was able to ring the cancer bell at Primary Children’s Hospital on May 4.
Lynn will continue monthly checkups to ensure his cancer doesn’t come back, but this time they are hopeful.
Lynn’s family attributes his recovery to prayer and support from the community.
“The love and support we had was amazing,” Susan said.
Lynn’s family said he is the strongest kid they know.
“I told Lynn, whatever happens in his life, nothing can ever compare to what he’s been through,” Susan said. “He’s such a survivor.”
“I honestly don’t know how he survived,” Sara added. “He is such a strong little dude and he wanted to be here. He made it here and he’s meant to be here.”
Sara wants to encourage others going through tough times.
“You always hear that you have to have faith, but it’s true,” she said. “I honestly did not know how to have faith in my life until this happened. I had to put this in God’s hands and have faith that Lynn would be okay and make it out of this.”
“Just have faith and hope and keep trying,” Sara continued. “Don’t give up.”
Lynn, his sister, and mother recently moved out of state, but Lynn is still staying with his grandfather in Grantsville for the meantime.
In his free time, Lynn enjoys doing typical 10-year-old things, like playing, and loving on his little sister.