9 year old faces leukemia with strength

July 20, 2017

Garrett Lauters was supposed to spend fourth grade playing T-Ball and football with his friends and hunting and fishing with his dad. Instead, he spent the year battling cancer at Sanford Children’s in Bismarck.

In summer 2016, Garrett started losing strength in his legs. His mom, Nicole Lauters, remembers carrying him into the emergency room because he was too weak to walk. Later that day, Garrett was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“I only heard bits and pieces of his diagnosis,” Nicole remembers. “I heard it was leukemia, and I lost it. I never had anything major like this happen to me or my family. I was so scared, especially for a 9-year-old little kid.”

Over the past year, Garrett has spent countless days at Sanford Children’s receiving chemotherapy through a port in his chest. But at each appointment, he’s surprised Nicole with his bravery.

“He’s so strong,” Nicole said. “He doesn’t get nervous or scared. When the nurses access his port, he holds my hand, but he doesn’t cry. He’s just so brave.”

His caregivers at Sanford Children’s help take away the fear.

“It’s unbelievable how good they are,” Nicole said. “The nurses just love him, and he loves them back.”

Garrett will have another year of treatment, undergoing chemo about once a month. When he’s finished, Nicole hopes he can get back to normal.

“I hope he can play sports and roughhouse with other kids,” Nicole said. “I hope he’ll go back to his old self.”