ST. PAUL – Gavin “Gabs” Jon Coria will soon be eight years old, but he has already overcome bigger obstacles than most people will ever face, just to survive.
Gavin was born with infantile fibrosarcoma, a very rare cancer of the soft tissue. The cancer was discovered when Gavin was one month old, and he began treatment immediately. After undergoing numerous tests, medications, surgeries and chemotherapy, Gavin was declared to be in remission at four months old.
While he still goes to the Riley Hospital for Children Survivor’s Clinic once a year for a check-up, Gavin’s mother, Jodie Louthain, said he is doing great and now focuses on helping other kids with cancer, as well as raising awareness about the lifelong after-effects that come with cancer.
“They say you survive cancer, and yes, you survive, but there are so many after-effects that go along with it,” Louthain said.
Gavin met a boy named Alan whom he originally thought had the same kind of cancer. Though Alan had a sarcoma, it was a different kind of cancer. The boys’ families became good friends, but sadly, Alan passed away when he was five years old. Gavin saw Alan’s dad shaving his head as part of a fundraiser for an organization called the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and decided he wanted to do it too.
Gavin learned about the program and decided he wanted to raise the money and donate it in Alan’s memory. He and his family like St. Baldrick’s because they operate with transparency and 100 percent of the money donated goes to children’s hospitals around the country to be used for research on all forms of childhood cancers.
Last year was his first attempt and Gavin raised $1,001 to be donated. This year, Gavin’s goal is $2,000. When he reaches his goal, Gavin will make a video of his head being shaved and post it to the St. Baldrick’s website. Due to medical problems in the family, they haven’t had much chance to promote his fundraiser and collect pledges this year.