Persy Burnette

Persy is a sweet, funny, smart 2 ½ year old boy who loves his family (especially his 9 month old bother Kep), dinosaurs, Baby Shark, PBJs, applesauce, playing outside and being a wild boy. Since the day he was born he has been the happiest, easiest baby and toddler. He is the best and most loving son, big brother, cousin, grandson, nephew and friend to all he meets. He is so smart and loves reading books, doing puzzles, counting and learning. He is “the boy who makes everyone smile” and has a way of making everyone he meets feel special and loved.

At the beginning of October, Persy’s family (mom, Brittany; dad, Ryan; and baby brother, Kepler) relocated from Atlanta, GA to Jacksonville, FL to start a new chapter in their lives. Although Ryan would have to commute, everyone was so happy to be in their beautiful new home. Brittany was loving being home with her 2 babies, having taken a break from teaching. And Persy had started at a new preschool and was loving his “new house.” Life was pretty sweet.

A few weeks after the move on October 20th, Brittany noticed a lump on Persy’s right shoulder. They took him to the pediatrician, his shoulder was x-rayed and he was diagnosed with a fractured clavicle. They were told there was no treatment and that his clavicle would heal over time. Over the next few weeks, Persy seemed OK until the Friday before Halloween when Brittany received a call from Persy’s school saying that he was acting as though his leg was hurt. Ryan took him to the ER where his legs were x-rayed and was told there was nothing found. That weekend Brittany took the boys to Thomasville to spend Halloween with their cousins and Persy was not himself all weekend long. He was fussy and clingy and couldn’t even play with his cousins or enjoy trick-or-treating with them who he loves more than anything in the world. Brittany did note that he had a low grade fever which she attributed to him cutting his 2 year old molars which were coming in. Upon returning home, Persy seemed to feel better for a few days and was acting more like himself. He was playing and reading again and living it up. On November 16th, Persy woke up with a bruised swollen eye. Brittany took him to the pediatrician again to get it checked out as well as to get his fractured clavicle looked at again because it didn’t seem to be getting any better and there was now bruising around it. The pediatrician wasn’t concerned about Persy’s eye, but he did refer them to an orthopedist, now thinking that his shoulder could be dislocated. Brittany was able to get Persy in to see the orthopedist that Friday, November 19th. As soon as he saw Persy’s shoulder, he knew immediately that the lump was “a growth” and not bone and sent them to Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital.

At the hospital, Persy had a full work-up in the ER. The doctor told Brittany and Ryan that there was something concerning with Persy’s bloodwork and that the Hemo Oncologist was coming to speak to them. This is the moment their lives changed forever and the oncologist confirmed that Persy had cancer. He said it could be one of three types but that he felt it was likely neuroblastoma, a cancer that forms in nerve tissue and is most common in children under 5. He explained that Persy was going to be admitted to the hospital and would need to be hospitalized for the next 7-10 days while they did more testing for a full diagnosis and treatment plan.

That night Persy got a blood transfusion and was started on morphine for his pain. On Saturday morning, Persy was sedated and intubated for CT scans, PICC placement and MRI. They found out that the primary tumor is in the back of his abdomen but that it has metastasized to his eye orbit and shoulder. It is considered a stage 4 cancer and high risk although the doctor suspects the tumor has only been in his body for 2-3 months. Despite this horrible diagnosis, Brittany and Ryan were encouraged to hear that the survival rate for this type of cancer, even though high risk, is 65-70%, and the doctor assured them that Persy’s presentation is fairly typical for this type of cancer and that it is curable.

We have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support and prayers that have been given to us in just the first few days of this nightmare and we are beyond grateful. At this time, we ask that everyone continue to lift Persy and his family up in prayer and we will continue to update everyone on his journey to a full recovery on this site.

God of Loving kindness, we intercede for Persy and his family who have just received this dreaded news of a cancer diagnosis. We pray for supernatural peace and calm to come over this family. We pray that You will quiet Persy’s fears and relieve any pain. We pray for wisdom and guidance in the days to come, as more testing is done, and a treatment plan is begun. Heal Persy, dear Lord, in Your great compassion. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.