In less than two weeks after her 3-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer, his mother said the cancer was gone.
“We busted out of that hospital — with no cancer cells left to spare,” Taylor Bland-Ball, 22, wrote on Facebook on April 16. “Doctors are amazed at his speedy healing and strength!”
After Bland-Ball’s son, Noah, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, she said he went through two rounds of chemotherapy “because they can get a medical court order to force you to do it anyways for a child with his diagnosis.” Yet, Bland-Bell, who is a holistic birth attendant, also attempted several home remedies on her son, according to The Washington Post.
Police had a very different story about Noah’s illness. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office disseminated an urgent alert on the news that read “MISSING ENDANGERED CHILD.”
“On April 22, 2019 the parents failed to bring in the child to a medically necessary hospital procedure,” the sheriff’s office wrote of Bland-Ball and her husband, Joshua McAdams. “The parents have further refused to follow up with the life saving medical care the child needs.”
A hunt for the family ensued, and hours later, they were located in Georgetown, Ky. Noah was taken from his parents and was treated medically, according to the sheriff’s office. Noah’s parents were then investigated on suspicion of child neglect.
Bland-Ball and McAdams accuse authorities of taking away their right to choose their own treatment plan for their son. Supporters of the parents call the situation a “medical kidnapping.” Bland-Ball and McAdams will have a custody hearing on Friday.
“We’re not trying to refuse any kind of treatment,” Bland-Ball told reporters. “They think we’re refusing treatment all around, putting him in danger, trying to kill him. But not at all. We’re trying to save him.”
Bijal D. Shah, the leader of Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia program, said that the treatment can cure patients of acute lymphoblastic Leukemia 90 percent of the time. Yet, it requires two and a half years of chemotherapy. If that amount of chemotherapy is not completed, the cancer will usually come back.
“I put it in the same box as those who fear vaccination,” he said. “The reality is, what we risk by not taking chemotherapy, just as what we risk by not taking vaccines, is much, much worse.”
The Florida Freedom Alliance argues that parents should be entitled to “medical freedom” and freedom from “medical kidnappings.”
Last September, authorities took custody of a 12-year-old boy in New York after his mother refused to get him chemotherapy treatment for his leukemia. The boy’s mother, Candace Gunderson, said she was getting her son alternative holistic treatment, but authorities seized her son in what she called a “medical kidnapping.”
“They don’t want me to be able to exercise my freedoms to choose medical treatment for my child,” Gunderson said.
Nonprofits like the American Cancer Society have warned people against using “alternative” treatments. The ACS found that 40 percent of people in America think that cancer can be cured with alternative therapies. The cancer society said these findings were “alarming” because “evidence shows that people who use alternative therapies in place of standard cancer treatments have much higher death rates.”
Bland-Ball explained that she thinks chemotherapy is too invasive and not necessary because the cancer was in remission.
“We want him to receive a treatment that has less side effects, because chemotherapy is so brutal on a body, even an adult body, so think of what it’s doing to a little person who’s only 30 pounds,” she told reporters. “We want to get him something that’s healthier, that is more biologically sound for him, specific to him and not just a standard protocol that they use for everybody, because he’s an individual."
Noah’s parents have not seen their son since they were apprehended. They also do not know where he is or how he is being medically treated.
“I haven’t slept,” she told reporters. “I’ve eaten one banana. I’ve been a total anxious mess, not being able to do anything except think about him, think about what I can do to help speed up this process to just see him again and know what’s going on.”
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