7-year-old fights cancer, back on court

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Last night, Carmello Hill was just like any other 7-year-old boy. He suited up in his basketball jersey and his shorts, and took to the court at Johnson Park.

This time last year, he wasn’t so fortunate.

Mello’s mom, Skylar, said Tuesday that he fell a couple days before Christmas in 2015 and hit his groin area.

“I took him to Dr. Eldridge, and he sent us on to Dothan,” she said. “It was misdiagnosed there, but we finally got him to Birmingham.”

She said he was taken to surgery in Birmingham.

While in surgery, he had a tumor removed.

Skylar said the procedure was expected to take 90 minutes but turned into a 3.5-hour surgery.

“He had to be very careful while removing it,” she said. “We had our family consultation and he told us it was a tumor. We found out it would take two weeks to get the pathology results back.”

Two weeks later, they found out Mello had embroynal rhabdomysosarcoma.

Skylar said the cancer caused Mello to lose one of his testicles completely and the other is severely damaged. So, he won’t be able to have children in the future.

“He gave us the worst news ever,” she said. “I lost my mind. He’s my baby. They couldn’t tell us how long he had had it.”

Skylar said cancer runs in her family and she’s had family members die from cancer.

Mello had to have another procedure – a bone marrow biopsy, a spinal tap and put a port in, then had chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“The chemo was awful,” she said. “He was very sick.”

Like most cancer patients, Mello lost his hair, but his dad and grandfather shaved their heads to help him feel more comfortable.

Skylar said that she had to quit her job to take care of Mello, and to take him back and forth to Birmingham each week.

“It’s been very expensive,” she said. “Going up there every week was a challenge. We still need help getting up there. I don’t have transportations. So, I have to rely on others to take us up there. Then, we also have to pay for the gas up there.”

Meredith’s Miracles has helped her some with transportation expenses, she said.

“I’m very thankful for their help,” she said.

A friend started a GoFundMe account.

“We didn’t raise what we needed,” she said.

Mello is in remission.

“We have to go every three months unless something comes up,” she said. “We go Friday to Birmingham for scans.”

Skylar said she’s nervous about going back because even though Mello is in remission, she found a lump in his chest and they are going to check it out.

Mello is in the second grade at Andalusia Elementary School.

Skylar said that faculty and administration at AES have been so good throughout the entire battle.

“I just want to give other parents who are going through what I have been through hope,” she said. “Last year, he was only able to play one game. This year, he’s able to play.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help with their medical expenses, may send them to 605 Auburn Ave., Andalusia, AL 36420.

“We appreciate the help and thank everyone for their contributions and prayers.”