Joel was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) when he was one, and people all over the world began to pray and follow Joel’s story on Facebook and on his website www.joelevangreen.com
Joel had a brain surgery to resect his tumor, followed by 6 weeks of radiation (a treatment usually not given until the age of three, but AT/RTs are fast growing and aggressive with a dismal outcome if radiation is not used, and a poor outcome no matter what treatment is used). Joel received 9 months of the most intense chemotherapy available, and then he had a tumor recurrence.
Three months before Joel turned two he was given between a few weeks and four months to live. In the 27 months since then, Joel has had five more tumor recurrences, each one life threatening, and each one treated with palliative treatment, designed to ease symptoms in end-of-life stages of disease (palliative treatment is not curative).
In October of 2011, Joel was once again expected to die within months, as he had three new tumors. Two of these tumors ended up dying while on palliative iv chemo, and the third while on radiation. In November of 2012, Joel’s incredible medical team prepared the family once again for Joel’s death, because his seventh tumor was very large and growing very quickly. Ryan and Amy were told not to expect Joel to have any more long periods of remission. Amy and Ryan Green continued to pray for Joel and were joined by thousands of people around the world who asked God for more miracles for Joel. The Green family believed Joel would live a long life, and they were dedicated to making the most of every single day that Joel was alive.
He lived 16 more months, but in those months the tumors started to come in small clusters instead of in insolation. (A more typical recurrence pattern for AT/RT tumors, but still much slower progression and more susceptible treatment than anyone would expect.) In January of 2014, the family decided to relocate to San Francisco to pursue a medical trial for AT/RTs because the new tumors were in and around the brainstem leaving them with no other viable medical options for Joel. In March of 2014, it became clear that despite everyone’s best efforts, Joel was not being helped by the trial, and the family returned home to Colorado, where Joel died within days.
The days since Joel’s death have been filled with more grace than seems possible, as the Green family remember Joel and miss him and wish things could have been different, but now must learn what it means to be a family without him.
About Joel's Parents
Ryan Green is a programmer and game developer. Amy Green is a writer, speaker and stand up comedian. Ryan and Amy’s greatest aspiration is to raise their four incredible sons (Caleb age 7, Isaac age 5, Joel age 4, and Elijah age 2) to love God and to love others without fear.