Chandler boy getting ready for risky clinical trial as he battles rare cancer for a 3rd time

For an East Valley family, they're hoping the third time is the charm as their nine-year-old child is fighting for his life.

"There's not really much I like to do at all right now. Not much I can do," Luke Ozga said. His fight began in December 2019 when doctors discovered that he had a huge tumor on his heart.

"He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, which is actually really rare. It's rare enough that we don't even have a protocol for it," said Luke's mother, Heather.

Cancer quickly spread to Luke's kidneys and his stomach. He immediately started chemotherapy, and thankfully went into remission months later.

The joy of remission, however, was short-lived.

In December 2020, Luke learned that his cancer had returned. This time, he needed a bone marrow transplant from his brother.

"He again did really well, handled things really well, was the sickest I've ever seen anybody. It was horrible to watch as a parent," said Heather.

She hoped the treatment would yield better results this time around, but three months after his transplant, doctors delivered the devastating news that Luke's cancer had returned for a third time.

"I think the hard part at that point was there wasn't many options at that point left," said Heather. "We could do a couple of chemo, but they would have just been temporary, and wouldn't have gotten them into remission."

Left with little options, Luke's doctors at Phoenix Children's Hospital told Heather about a new clinical trial in Texas that uses his brother's cells to go after Luke's cancer. That treatment, however, only last about six months, meaning if all goes well, Luke will have to get yet another transplant.

It is risky, but it's a risk that Luke and his mom are willing to take.

"This has to work, this has to work," said Heather. "We keep saying our new theory or motto is 'the third time's a charm,' and so, this third time has to be the charm because we don't have any other options after this."

Armer Foundation For Kids' donation page for Luke Ozga

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