Local 4-year-old may receive legislative help in his fight against cancer

Four-year-old Wyatt Rech is a fighter. For the past two years, he has been fighting cancers Wilms Tumor and Hepatoblastoma that came as a result of his congenital growth disorder, Bechwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.

It’s been a tough fight for the little guy, but his strength and medical care have put the cancers in remission.

On March 8, Wyatt received the fighting help from a Washington, D.C. power-player - Senator Norm Coleman, who along with several other senators and a congresswoman introduced landmark legislation for research and treatment for childhood cancer.

Wyatt, the son of Jim and Kris Rech of New Prague, was in Washington with his mom when the bill was introduced.

“We were honored and humbled that Wyatt and I attended the introduction of the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2006,” said Kris. “I never imagined that as a result of sharing our story with Senator Coleman that this bill would be introduced.”

The Rech’s first met Coleman last year during Gold Ribbon Days, when Coleman met the Rechs in Washington and fell in love with Wyatt. After sharing their story and that of limited research and funding for childhood cancer, Coleman pledged to become a fighter for the cause, introducing the bill.

“Having Kris and Wyatt attend the press conference was very rewarding and humbling to me. The fight Wyatt and his family have undertaken against cancer is one of the driving forces behind the bill,” Coleman said. “He and his family have truly been an inspiration to me and I cannot thank them enough.”

Wyatt’s cancer was discovered when he was two years old during a regular ultra sound. A mass was found on Wyatt’s right kidney, and during surgery a week later, other smaller masses were found on the same and other kidney. Test results confirmed that he had Wilm’s Tumor, a form of childhood cancer that one-in-ten children with Bechwith-Wiedemann Syndrome develop.

After chemotherapy treatment that has successfully put the cancer in remission, Wyatt rebounded to great health. But, despite his good health, Kris is not done with making everyone more aware of the issue of childhood cancer.

“There needs to be so much more awareness for this issue. This is an issue that really needs to be looked at,” Kris said. She encourages people to contact their legislative representatives who can pressure lawmakers to pass the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2006.

“We need to ensure that our physicians, nurses and researchers have every tool necessary until we reach a day when every child can live free of cancer. This bill will go a long way toward supporting the folks who are working to make this a reality – and at the same time will offer greater resources for children like Wyatt,” Coleman said.

If passed, the Act would provide funds to raise awareness about childhood cancer as well as support children and their families who are suffering from this disease.

Cancer is the number one disease killer of children, and more than 12, 500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.

A wish come true

Because he was diagnosed with cancer, Wyatt was eligible for a wish through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Wyatt’s wish, Kris said, was to see Willy, or Shamu, the killer whale from the “Free Willy” movie at Sea World in Florida. The Rech family left for Florida March 7. On March 8, Kris and Wyatt flew to Washington for the Act’s Senate introduction, then back to Florida for the rest of the vacation.

Wyatt’s struggles aren’t over yet. According to Kris, he still faces numerous x-rays, blood work, tests, tests and more tests. She said hopefully if the bill is passed and more money is allocated to research for childhood cancer specifically, it will help other families who fight the same battle.

“The introduction of the bill has strengthened my need to advocate not only for Wyatt, but for other families who have a child diagnosed with cancer,” Kris said.

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