N.S. boy, an 11-year-old cancer survivor, now recovering from rare brain aneurysm


NORTH SMITHFIELD – In 2014, his victory over cancer was hailed as, “a testament to the power of modern medicine,” in an article on the then four-year-old’s recovery in The Providence Journal.

Now, 11-year-old Kavan Bradford must fight another battle, once again surrounded by doctors, specialists, friends and family at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Bradford was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, deemed unrelated to the Stage 4 Neuroblastoma and related treatment he endured ten years ago.

Described as, “the kindest, sweetest, spunkiest 11 year old boy,” by a close friend of the family, Bradford was found lying in his bed, unresponsive on Tuesday, May 24. He was brought by rescue to Hasbro, where, after many tests, blood was found to be pooling around his brain, according to April Lombardi.

A drain was used to relieve the pressure, and Bradford underwent a successful emergency surgery the same day to repair the ruptured brain aneurysm.

“Kavan is showing signs of improvement,” Lombardi noted. “He is able to wake up, talk, and eat a little.”

But doctors, she noted, won”t know if the 11-year-old has suffered any long-term damage for several weeks.

“While Kavan is showing positive signs, he has a long road ahead,” she said.

Bradford is expected to be in the Hasbro Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for two to three weeks, an environment he already became all too familiar with at a young age. The North Smithfield boy was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer with a high rate of mortality, at just 18 months old. At the time, doctors determined that the Stage 4 cancer had spread to his skull, bones and lymphatic system, taking over 80 percent of his body.

In the two-year battle that followed, Bradford lost his hearing, but thanks to chemotherapy and a family dedicated to his healing, he miraculously escaped with his life.

The years since have been the type one might hope for growing up in a small town. Bradford celebrated his fourth birthday cancer-free and joined pre-K at North Smithfield Elementary School. He’s since joined North Smithfield Little League and Northmen Hoops basketball, and even has a YouTube channel teaching people how to breakdance. And he’s made friends, including Lombardi’s youngest son.

“Now, exactly ten years later, the Bradford Family found themselves again in the Hasbro Chapel praying for their son’s life,” said Lombardi. “This was so unexpected and so unfair.”

Bradford, she noted, had no headaches or complaints at all, and unbeknownst to his family or the rescue team, he was fighting for his life.

Specialists at Hasbro agree that the brain aneurysm was completely unrelated to the cancer, or the intensive chemotherapy now ten years past. Instead, it seems he’s been confronted by another rare phenomenon. His parents, Erin and Bobby Bradford, both have professions that require them to be at work in order to be paid.

“Every minute that Erin and Bobby spend at their son’s PICU bedside is a financial loss to them,” Lombardi said, noting that the Bradfords have often volunteered time to help other local families in need.

On Monday, Lombardi started a fundraiser to help with the family’s medical expenses that had raised $4,915 by Friday, June 3.

“No parent should have to choose between working and being at their sick child’s hospital bedside,” she said.

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  1. I would also recommend that the family reach out to the Brain Aneurysm Support Group and Foundation in Boston, specifically Deidre Buckley or Christine Buckley, formerly of MGH and now BIDMC. The group was a godsend of support, education and encouragement to our family for years. Wishing your little one a full recovery.


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