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Back at Troy: Local Family Celebrates Cancer Remission

By Josh Jones 

Times Tribune Editor 

jljones@timestribunenews.com

TROY — Life changed for 4-year-old Alex Schnarre and his family in June of 2023 when he was diagnosed with leukemia and while his battle continues, seven months later his family, friends and neighbors welcomed him back home as they celebrated positive treatment results. 

According to Times Tribune archives, Alex had been feeling ill for days and his mother Suzanne Schnarre being a nurse by trade took him to Anderson Hospital running every needed test to find the problem. Alex would then be sent to St. Louis Children’s Hospital where he would stay for chemo treatments. In September of 2023 Alex was about halfway done with his planned treatments.

“At that time I felt that I was in a giant hole and did not know how we were going to get back out to the top, because we had already felt like we had been there for so long and still had a huge mountain to climb up,” Suzanne said.

Suzanne said that one of the worst parts was the unknown as Alex was put on various different chemo treatments each month and they had no idea how he was going to react. Into the treatment doctors determined that Alex had mucositis, which is when your mouth or gut is sore or inflamed, a common side effect of chemotherapy.

“However Alex continued to be so strong that you would have not known it, because he continued to eat, he continued to play, he continued to push forward every day and you wouldn’t even know by looking at him what was physically going on inside of his body,” Suzanne said. “Because that is just who he is, he is just a strong, positive kid.”

A mold lung infection, which can occur from the chemo treatments, also appeared at the worst time as Alex was nearing the end of his treatment.  Suzanne said that she would then go to Facebook to ask the supportive Troy and surrounding communities for prayers. The family are members of Troy Methodist Church.

“By the next morning he just snapped out of it and he just started getting better that Friday,” Suzanne said.

While the physical impact is important, it is also important to note the mental toll as Suzanne explained that Alex being a shy child put up some barriers, but she credited the presence of family including her husband Matt as well as Alex’s siblings, 12-year-old brother, Lucas, and 9-year-old sister, Madison as well as herself in the hospital room bringing them closer together.

“The days they didn’t have any sporting events they were up there in the evening until visiting hours were over and they were kicking us out. Then on the weekends that is just what we did, we spent our time together in the hospital. Matt brought our projector from home,” Suzanne said. “So we kind of started figuring things out towards the end how to really make his room. The nurses would come in his room and say ‘Wow you have the coolest room in the hospital,’. Every holiday we decorated. We decorated it for Christmas… I think at the end of the day we were all together, it didn’t matter where we were at and we were still going to make it special”

Matt said even though Alex’s two siblings celebrated their birthdays at the hospital they were always happy and willing to visit their brother.

“They never complained about going up there, hanging out and making the trip back and forth multiple times a week to see him,” Matt said.

On Dec. 15 Alex rang the bell to celebrate his discharge from the hospital. A Warrior’s escort by the Troy Police Department, the Troy Fire Protection District and other first responding agencies welcomed Alex home. Both Matt and Suzanne said they were amazed and grateful for the response.

“We thought it would be a couple of police cars, maybe a fire truck and I don’t know how many fire trucks and police cars ended up escorting him home, which he was a little shy about, but I think he did enjoy checking out the fire truck and seeing all of it,” Matt said. “That was pretty amazing for Troy and many surrounding people that went out for him.”

​​​Troy Police Department Sergeant Daniel Lipe said that a close member of the family reached out and once the family approved the escort they were more than happy to provide it for Alex.

“It was an honor and privilege to have been asked to help Alex with his return home. Alex is an inspiration to us all and shows us all to never give up the fight. Alex reached the hearts and souls of so many and he truly has the community support behind him,” Lipe said. “Organizing this escort shows how much Alex is cared for by this community. Seeing the people along the route flashing their lights, cheering, and honking their horns in support of Alex was a fantastic experience.”

The Troy Police Department thanked all the first responders who attended the escort.

“Alex, we wish you all the best and we’re glad to see you,” Lipe said. “Welcome home warrior!” 

Suzanne said that currently Alex and their family have been having an amazing time back home and celebrating the holiday season. She said this experience has put life into perspective and she will never feel normal again.

“It was definitely the best Christmas we celebrated together,” Suzanne said. “One thing we have done is we have just slowed down things… We were able to just sit down with no distractions, no electronics and just be together as a family again.”

Suzanne said Alex is officially classified to be in remission.

“Moving forward he is going to be monitored weekly and then monthly with blood work to ensure he stays in remission,” Suzanne said. “He will always be at risk for relapse and the labs will help the doctors determine if the leukemia has returned.”

Matt, Suzanne and the entire Schnarre family thank the Troy and surrounding community for the supportive fundraisers, prayers, kind messages and more during their difficult time.

“Not just family and friends but complete strangers, people in the community just rallying around us and him and it was pretty amazing during a really tough circumstance,” Matt said.

Suzanne said that they are now taking it one day at a time and Alex is looking forward to attending Monster Jam in St. Louis at the end of the month.

Alex Schnarre, 4, of Troy enjoying the great outdoors during the holidays. In June of 2023 Alex was diagnosed with leukemia and is now in remission. The experience has brought his family and the surrounding communities together.

Alex Schnarre, 4, of Troy received a mighty welcome home in December after going through initial treatment for leukemia. A Warrior’s escort including first responding agencies was held and local businesses also welcomed Alex home.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous on January 20, 2024 at 2:23 pm

    I am so very happy for you guys !!! Zoe has one more treatment and I hope and pray she has remission also. Hugs love compassion all sent your way !!

  2. Anonymous on January 12, 2024 at 6:17 pm

    Love this family.

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