Landan's Story

How a 3-1/2 Year Old Touched the World

Landan Mark Bland was born October 17, 2008 six weeks early.  He spent the first 10 days of his life in the NICU at Cox South.  Other than being a little early and small he was healthy and proved to be a fighter from the time he entered this world until the time he left.

On March 13, 2012 his parents received news that no parent would ever want to hear.  Landan had a brain tumor.  At that time it was thought to a benign tumor and easily removed with no long term side effects.  Landan was scheduled for his first craniotomy on March 15, 2012.  During the surgery it was discovered that the tumor was more than just a benign tumor and Landan would need further treatment.  Pathology reports diagnosed his tumor as an S-PNET, a very rare and aggressive type of brain cancer.

On April 1, 2012 Landan and his parents went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  Within just a few days Landan had an MRI which showed that the tumor was not gone.  He had his second craniotomy on April 9, 2012.  Molecular cytogenetics results showed that Landan also had an amplification of the N-MYC gene.  This genetic marker meant that the tumor was extremely aggressive and made it even rarer.  This was the first case of its kind at St. Jude.  Landan was fighting a MONSTER as the doctors called it.

Landan underwent 3 weeks of focal radiation to the initial tumor site.  At that time another MRI was done and showed that the tumor had spread to four new locations in his brain.  He then started Cranio Spinal Irradiation (CSI) therapy.  All together Landan had radiation everyday Monday through Friday for nine weeks and two days.  There was another MRI done the week before his radiation was scheduled to be over, it showed that the tumors were all but gone.  Praise the Lord!  His last radiation treatment was June 29, 2012.  It was a day of celebration, not only was it the last day of radiation but it was Landan’s baby sister Ellie’s 2nd birthday.

Landan and his family came home for four weeks in July.  Landan’s little body needed time to heal before heading back to St. Jude to start 4 to 6 months of chemo.  It was a busy 4 weeks of spending time with family and friends.  There were a couple of visits to the local St. Jude affiliate due to fever, but overall it was a good month of normalcy!

On July 31, 2012 Landan was transported back to St. Jude in an ambulance to undergo another MRI.  The MRI showed that the tumor was back, in a new location, and was growing at a very fast rate.  On August 2, 2012 Landan had a very scary series of seizures and he was admitted into the hospital at St. Jude.  He was put on anti-seizure meds and they started chemo immediately.  He handled the chemo very well and was released just a couple of days later.  He received his 2nd infusion of chemo a week later.  At the end of the first round of chemo he required a blood transfusion.  While in the medicine room, he started acting a little off so the doctor admitted him again and ordered a CT scan.  The scan showed that the tumor had quadrupled in size in just 9 days.  Landan’s parents were told there was nothing else that could be done.  They were told to they had about 2 weeks and to expect only 4-5 good days.  Landan was put on an extremely high dose of steroids to help with the edema.  The doctors warned that he would become very aggressive and even hard to handle but it was the complete opposite.  Landan became even more sweet and loving than ever.  Landan and his family drove home on August 13, 2012.

They spent the next days surrounded by close friends and family, enjoying every sweet moment together, and praying for a miracle for Landan.  Landan continued to stay positive, sweet and loving.  He never missed a moment to say "I love you, so much" to his mommy, daddy and sissy.  Landan enjoyed more than just the 4-5 good days predicted, he had 11!  Sadly, Landan passed away on August 29, 2012.  Although the family did not receive the miracle they had hoped for, they did receive many other miracles and continue to praise God for each and every one.

The parents’ goal is to keep Landan’s name alive and continue helping other families affected by childhood cancer.  The family is in the process of starting a non-profit organization in Landan’s memory.  With continued support of friends, family, community, and the "Team Landan" supporters, we feel this project will be a huge success!