Future YouTube Star Faces Cancer Journey with Confidence: Dan’s Story

For 11-year-old Daniel Therriault, becoming famous would be a dream come true. “A few years ago Dan really wanted to be a WWE wrestler, but lately he’s been saying how he’d like to start a YouTube channel and become a YouTube sensation” said his mother, Terri.

The truth is Dan is already pretty famous, especially here at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where he first began his cancer journey in February of 2016. Since he began receiving care at Connecticut Children’s Dan has warmed the hearts of everyone he has come in contact with, all the while fighting a courageous battle that no child should ever have to fight.

“It was around this time last year. We had just spent the afternoon at his grandparents’ anniversary party and when we returned home Dan mentioned that his knee was hurting him.”

“That night he came into my bedroom to ask for a first aid kit. Daniel was scared and I knew something just wasn’t right. We took him to urgent care and had x-rays done.” Those x-rays would send Daniel and his family to Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department for further testing and evaluation.

“At first the doctors thought Dan might have an infection or a hair-line fracture, but needed more time to diagnose him.  We went home around 10:00 p.m., but a few hours later, I received a call from Dr. Andrea Orsey. She told me to bring Daniel back immediately for more tests and a biopsy and that is exactly what we did. It was almost 2 a.m., and Dr. Orsey was studying his chart. She apologized over and over for waking me, but I didn’t care about that — I was grateful that she cared enough and was that dedicated to helping my son.  I knew right then that Dr. Orsey was the right doctor for Daniel.  He was her priority. There’s great comfort in that.”

On February 8, 2016 Daniel underwent a biopsy that would reveal the cause of his pain – Osteosarcoma. As soon as the bone cancer diagnosis was made, treatment began and the future YouTube star began his chemotherapy protocol all the while remaining in high spirits – with a smile on his face and cracking jokes with his caretakers.

That positivity helped Daniel face each new chapter throughout his journey; including his knee replacement surgery. “Due to his cancer, Dan needed to have his knee replaced. He now has a prosthetic knee, which we call his bionic knee.  It’s a new technology, imported from the U.K., which has magnetically activated gears that allow for expansion of the prosthetic, so that it can grow with Daniel.  Without it, Dan would have had to have his leg amputated, or would have needed multiple surgeries to place or expand other prosthetics as he grew. Dan is pretty proud of it.  I am so proud of him and his resilience” said Terri.  “Before his treatment was done, Daniel had to have a total of six surgeries. He complained less throughout all of that than I used to complain about a common cold.”

After finishing his last chemotherapy treatment on December 9th, Dan is ready to focus on being a normal school kid again, and someday rising to online stardom…but he’s no stranger to being on the big screen.

“While receiving treatment, Dan appeared in a super hero video for Connecticut Children’s. He wore a red cape and showed off his ‘Danger Dan’ super hero powers for the camera. Whenever I walk by one of the video screens in the hospital and see him in the video, I just can’t help but smile and think ‘That’s my boy.’   Not only that, he was the subject of several TV news stories when he received a swimming pool from Make-a-Wish.”

“This place, the care, the people…it’s all incredibly fantastic. This has been a difficult — sometimes nightmarish — journey, but they have made such a difference. I never thought that such a caring and kind staff ever existed at any hospital.  I cannot say enough good things about Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. There are no adequate words.”

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