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‘Nothing phases him’: Troy boy strong, battling leukemia

By Nathan Woodside

Suzanne Schnarre says “it was like a movie” when recalling what it was like when her 4-year-old, the youngest of her three, was diagnosed with leukemia. 

“I was like, ‘No, wait what? No way. You don’t know anything,’ Suzanne Schnarre said. “Immediately, that’s where my defense went. I started screaming, and yelling, and falling on the floor, the whole thing. And then, yeah, nothing’s been the same since.”

Things have been better, though. At first, Suzanne says Alex was terrified. He had been feeling ill for days and his mom could tell something just wasn’t right. It wasn’t a cold or a flu or allergies. It was June 13 when the hard-working nurse by trade decided to take her son in for tests. 

She credits Anderson Hospital for running every test necessary to find the root of the problem. Her boy is now being treated at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 

Alex has adjusted astonishing well to the chemo treatments and confinements of his hospital room. 

“Nothing phases him,” Suzanne said. “He’s so smart – so in tune with everything around him.”

The First Step Learning Center student spends his day playing with monster trucks and working through games on an iPad his father, Matt, picked up for him. His mom also credits the faith of their family at Troy Methodist.

“It’s amazing to watch,” Suzanne said. “Kids are just, they’re so resilient and they’re just so positive. Nothing really gets them down… He smiles, he laughs, he jokes.”

She said the tough part is having her family separated turning Alex’s treatments. The youngster also has a 12-year-old brother, Lucas, and 8-year-old sister, Madison and a dog, Chief. 

“Coming here and being with Alex is the easy part because he feels really good right now,” She said. “He has some days where then he is just maybe a little bit more tired, or maybe sick to his stomach, but everything he needs is here. He’s got all his toys, he gets new toys constantly, so he’s always looking forward to that. And then anytime he doesn’t feel good, then the nurses are in here immediately to give him help, medicines to help him to get through that. And they’re doing an amazing job at keeping him comfortable. And he’s amazing because he still pushes to eat. He pushes to drink because he knows that is what he needs to do.”

On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Edwardsville Moose Lodge is hosting a fundraiser and silent auction for Alex and his family. The event begins at 2 p.m. and includes a chicken and beer dance from 5 to 10 p.m., a silent auction, a costume contest a 7:30 p.m. and live music at 8:10 p.m.

Unfortunately, Alex will still be undergoing treatments and unable to attend. However, updates on his recovery can be followed on the Facebook Page “Alex’s Avengers.” 

Suzanne says the support Alex and his family has received from the community has been overwhelming. There’s still a long journey ahead, but the power of positivity and prayer is certainly working. 

“Today actually marks the halfway mark of this entire journey,” she said in an interview Monday. “Even though the first month felt like it was like six months long, it was only like 34 days. So we’re getting there. We’re on the downhill slide.”

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