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Enzo: The Cancer Warrior

Posted on January 29, 2013, 11:47 AM
Enzo: The Cancer Warrior

He stands nearly two feet tall and weighs in at thirty-five pounds of lean, fibrous strength. His eyes are dark brown and project the wisdom of a battle-stricken Marine. His hands and arms bear witness to pain from which most adults would cower. His head is slick and bald with a sheen. His birth name told his story before he was battle proven: Enzo, from the Italian meaning “to conquer.” 

Enzo is two years old. He has the heart of a warrior and a smile that will make all of your worries seem trivial.

He was growing into a fit, happy, aggressively curious two-year-old, always striving to get laughs with his actions. Enzo’s big brother, Bryce, who is nineteen years old and currently in the United Sates Marine Corps, watched him during the summer before leaving for boot camp. With Bryce gone, Enzo was a little lost, but quickly adapted by wanting to explore the outdoors.

One of the few words he spoke at that time was “outside!” Like his father and brother, Enzo was drawn to exploration and adventure. He hiked three miles of a five-mile hike into Muir Woods – a trail riddled with crossings, downed trees, flowing water and hills. What a fit, little guy!

A month after turning two, three weeks after this momentous hike, pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) declared War on Enzo. Traveling through his bloodstream, leukemia was determined to initiate his destruction.

Its first attack was on his ability to walk, in disguise as a twisted ankle. Thriving on its success, leukemia now masked itself as the flu. Again, it hid itself from the doctors and moved on to causing a persistent bloody nose and gums. Finally, this enemy that fancies itself a secret agent was exposed.

What a frightening time this was to see my little angel being attacked so aggressively. Emotions filled my body and mind: an anger so intense that the Devil himself better stay clear of me; a humbleness that brought me to my knees, begging for mercy; a helplessness that caused me to lash out at the known and the unknown.

The battle was staged at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. Upon our arrival, a team of doctors was prepped, donned in facemasks with the world’s best tactical equipment, training second-to-none and ready to take on this cowardly assailant. I didn’t know exactly what was in store, but as a father, I was not prepared to see my youngest dressed in battle gear, in the form of smocks, facemasks and IV’s.

They let me carry Enzo into the battlefield – a small, child’s surgery center. He was hugging my neck all the way there. I can still remember his cold, strong, little arms and how it made me feel, like I was still his protector. It took all I had to hold back my tears for him. I truly just wanted to stop at the gurney and weep like a child.

In the surgery room was a muscular, male nurse that had a great command presence about himself. The kind of guy you would want to battle with now and have a beer with later. When we talked, there was a positive respect for each other. It made the hand-off of Enzo easier, knowing that this nurse was going to be part of the fight.

Four hours into the war was a wild ride that ended with Enzo in the recovery room. He was so out of it. Truly experiencing battle fatigue. His eyes were rolling into the back of his head, as he went in and out of consciousness and wasn’t sure where he was. I tell you this with a heavy flow of tears… to pick him up and have him call me, “Daddy,” despite his lack of visual recognition, that is a love that I will always remember. I instantly had to sit down, as I knew my legs were giving out. Not from fear, but from his simple hug and that word, “Daddy,” confirming I’m still his protector. An affection that every person should experience.

It’s only been twenty-nine days since the declaration, but Enzo has battled well. It was well scripted and we were informed of all the risks and percentages of potential hazards. He is still shellshocked from nine whole blood transfusions, five platelet transfusions, three injections of Chemo to his spinal and cerebral fluid and an arsenal of medication. The first stage of this battle, known as “The Induction,” has changed this adventurous, energy-filled tornado. I was not ready to see and feel this transformation.

Little did leukemia know, it picked on the wrong Warrior. I am proud to announce Enzo has moved from “The Induction” stage of the War to “The Consolidation” stage. He had a biopsy of his bone marrow last week and the results showed Enzo is winning this battle! He is still on the battlefield and not out of harm’s way as of yet. He still has to go though many more stages of chemo and medications, but as of now, he is eliminating this enemy.

I write this for all Cancer Warriors and parents of children with leukemia. Stay positive! Your ability and strength is so inspiring and motivating! Battle well, let your beautiful bald heads shine and never give up!

Enzo’s Dad

Randy Lavasseur is a Deputy Chief of a federal law enforcement agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. He loves his family and hates cancer. He wants all Cancer Warriors to be known for their courageous battles and perseverance. You can follow Enzos’ battle at

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Posted by shannon | January 29, 2013 9:54 PM

this is so AWESOME!  this will bring so much inspiration to other families that are fighting the same battle.  I love you guys SO much <3

Posted by Ms. Ellie | January 30, 2013 7:02 AM

As I have traveled (on my knees from miles away) through this battlefield with Enzo and his family I am in awe of the strength, courage, commitment, and faith they all have shown in the face of this enemy called leukemia.  I believe the winds of this storm are blowing this little warrior towards his destiny, this story of faith and triumph is giving others hope, and the awful battle scars that will remain will be a source of strength and a reminder throughout his life that “with God, All Things Are Possible!”.  Enzo you Are great warrior and an incredible source of hope, courage, inspiration and belief in God-given Miracles!  Praise God, cancer will NOT win! 
Thank you for sharing your journey through this war with us.

Posted by sharon duff | January 30, 2013 2:33 PM

There is no one as courageous as one who is battling this dread disease that threatens every fiber of their being and their family’s being. I marvel as I see all of those who go thru the treatments and still have a smile to share.  My husband just completed over 6 months of treatments and I must say I have never seen such wonderful people as the staff, doctors, nurses, and techs….but most of all the patients themselves. Mazel Tov my small compadre Enzo…may your beautiful spirit shine and your life be rich with love and happiness…..YOU WILL WIN!

Posted by sandy | January 30, 2013 2:39 PM

My son Robbie fought the same assailant as Enzo. The same age, 2yrs and a week. I was 7 months pregnant…...we all battled together and in our isolation ward and won the war. Robbies just had his 18th bIrThday, works hard and plays hard. It seems he is the fighting kind as he is soon to join the RAF and fight more battles. So proud of both my boys, my Trojans. Keep fighting Enzo xxx

Posted by jodie | January 30, 2013 3:41 PM

beautifully shared, your story deserves a million happy endings. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Delphine | January 30, 2013 4:04 PM

Your Little Peaceful Warrior carries a powerful message of intestinal fortitude, love and joyful living. Sending love and light and keep us posted on the many adventures and good days you both have ahead of you xxxxxooox

Posted by Cheri Zenker | January 30, 2013 4:55 PM

Words can not express the love and compassion I felt as I read about Enzo. I am a better person just by reading about his journey. Thank you for sharing ‘Enzo’s War’ as you put it. I was deeply touched and in awe of the love and joy that saturated my heart and soul. Enzo has and will continue giving people Hope, Encouragement, Strength, Peace and Love through his Faith (and yours) through Christ Jesus. May God continue blessing you and yours.

Posted by georgiegirl | January 30, 2013 6:17 PM

I will keep only the very best of thoughts for Enzo and his family. With all the prayers, good thoughts, and ‘hugs’and his own courage, he will make it through and destroy the enemy for good.  Hugs.

Posted by Kristin | January 30, 2013 7:45 PM

My son , Evan was diagnosed one month before his 2nd birthday . He turned 4 in january of this year. He has a year and a few months left to battle but he’s stronger than ever! His daddy a former marine came back from Iraq, after an 8 month tour , only to find out the next month his son would also enter into a war! A war that none of us could help him or protect him from. We have had our ups and downs and cried and asked why? But 2 years later we are still here ... And Evan has been our inspiration , and miracle . If you ever need to talk , vent or have questions please send me an email and I can tell you the most important thing that another paret told me, don’t ever ever ever let numbers get you down! Don’t surrender to counts! God bless your little warrior

Posted by BLuE_Cardinal | January 30, 2013 10:15 PM

I’m in a different battle field right now. Actually I’ve been fighting my disease for more than a Year. From the time that I’ve been diagnosed The doctors told us that there’s a chance that my body will give up anytime. My mom cried a lot that time but I said to my self that I Need to be strong for the people I love. It is not easy to have a chronic disease. We need to fight for our lives.

His story boost up my strength to fight for my life.
Tears falls from my eyes while reading this story.
Thank you very much for sharing.

Posted by Hugo Navarro Sr. | January 31, 2013 8:05 AM

I pray that God give you the courage to stick with the fight for Enzo, when it comes to a child__ I can’t handle things too well, sentementally I’m a mess, cause I wish that I can do something personally. But I can’t, that in itself makes me feel inferior, but I will pray for Enzo and hope for the best.God Bless the Enzo Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by dave | February 03, 2013 3:40 AM

I’ve been fighting the disease also ,I still have my port in and take my chemo pill for the philidelphia chrome gene ...wich i pray he tested neg for…but im feeling strong and good   along way to go but i will get there, let your little guy we are all fighting for him and with him. i lost my mom to pancreatic cancer or unknown origin as to where it started but lost her 6 months into this she was my caregiver and warrior…..just like enzo is lookin at you… his warrior , you guys are amaizing thanks   and good luck

Posted by Pete Gardner | February 05, 2013 1:57 AM

Our hearts and prayers are with you Enzo, you are truly a fighter and will defeat this obstacle. The Gardner family.

Posted by Kc | February 08, 2013 10:29 PM

Enzo you are such a brave Warrior. Thank You for sharing.
Sending you Prayers & Love Enzo.

Posted by georgiegirl | February 09, 2013 9:00 AM

I join so many others in sending good wishes to you, young man.  Keep up the good fight, with hopes that someday we will win our war against cancer.

Posted by La-a McCann | February 13, 2013 8:01 AM

Your story has really given me a new perspective on life.  life is so precious and for little Enzo to be battling such a powerful disease it is inspiring. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Keep fighting<3
With love,

Posted by Mow | February 14, 2013 7:48 AM

I am sorry for your loss. R.I.P he was a true fighter and will be missed.  his story touched many lives including mine.

Posted by sandro | February 24, 2013 2:10 PM

lo voi a ayudar

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