Six year old Renvek Larson is quite the celebrity. Just do a quick Google search and you will see him dancing with a Mariachi band in Portland, playing on a jungle gym in New York City, and preparing to board a plane in Seattle. His story can be found on websites from news agencies around the world, pictures and videos of his warm little smile. He has an infectious smile. He is an honorary member of said Mariachi band. He loves music. And he has ganglioneuroblastoma.
It’s an ugly name for an ugly disease, one that affects only 5 out of 1 million children a year. The youngster from Alaska was diagnosed in 2012, and has a series of triumphs and setbacks over the last three and a half years. It has been a journey that has taken Renvek and his family all over the country to seek out treatment. And now, after the ups and downs, after the cancer went away and came back, after the doctors told his family to prepare for a “low chance of survival,” there is hope with a new antibody therapy.
And now that Renvek is feeling a little better, now that he is gaining a little weight and the feeding tube is gone, Renvek wants to splash around in the waterslides at Disneyworld. But he has to keep the IV port on his chest dry and clean. That’s where USIA comes in.
Lana Johns, USIA CEO, learned about Renvek from our friends up at Alaska Mining and Diving Supply. She heard that Renvek had a wish. He wanted to swim and play just like all the other kids at Disneyworld. Lana didn’t hesitate. Donating dry suits to children with special needs is something near and dear to Lana’s heart. Renvek is no exception.
Renvek didn’t have a lot of requests for his new suit. His mother told us the only preference was that it had to be his favorite color: blue. So Lana had the factory get to work, putting together a blue base layer suit with blue camo accents. Very stylish!
As Brian from Alaska Mining and Diving supply says, Renvek just loves his new suit. And something tells me that when he gets to Florida and sports his new dry suit at the waterpark, he will be the envy of every other kid there.
You have new fans in USIA, Renvek. We’re pulling for you.
UPDATE! We’ve got more pictures of Renvek to share! He recently visited a local aquatic center with his family and it looks like they all had a blast!