Relay for Life survivors stories

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer
Milo Swanson (left) and Bailey Trickel (right)  have both been fighting cancer this past year.

 Each year Wanton County Relay for Life honors a cancer survivor. This year they are honoring Milo Swanson and Bailey Trickel.

In 2016, 8-year-old Milo Swanson had a seizure, that sparked his journey of fighting an astrocytoma glioma brain tumor, and he had an MRI which showed he had two tumors. Doctors' first line of treatment they did to combat the tumors was to do surgery to remove the tumors.

“He had open brain surgery to remove one of them and they took most of the second," said Milo's mom Sara Swanson. " Because of its location and how it was connected to the optical nerve area they weren't able to remove the entire thing." 

Without being able to remove the one tumor completely Swanson did MRIs every three months to keep track of it. Doctors noticed the tumor starting to grow so Swanson started 14-month chemotherapy treatment. They waited nine months before starting another year-long chemo treatment, which Swanson is in the middle of right now. So far it has shown that chemo is working on shrinking the tumor. 

With the type of tumor he has and where it is located Swanson will be fighting this for the rest of his life. There is hope that once he is done with puberty that his tumor will stop growing.

“ We will have to maneuver our way through this journey all the way up until his brain stops growing," Swanson said." They tell us that is anywhere from 18 to 22 years of age depending on the individual."

Swanson and his mom share the relay for life and fighting cancer experience together because she too is a cancer survivor. Swanson said it is a bitter-sweet thing walking the survivor's lap and seeing him go through this struggle at a younger age.

With the help of her, their family, and friends Swanson has been able to power through his fight. Swanson said that she is so thankful and that she can not thank people enough for all their kind thoughts, wishes, and all that they have done to support them.

Bailey Trickel a St. James graduate, journey began December 7, 2020, after having a routine doctor appointment and blood test diagnosed her with acute myeloid leukemia. 

Trickel said her diagnosis and treatment were tricky because she was not able to go in for an appointment for two months due to COVID and once she was able to she went straight to chemotherapy after receiving her test results.

While fighting cancer having a support system is something a lot of people have, Trickel had this in the form of her parents, Brent and Abby Trickel, her siblings and niece, most people in St. James, and her coworkers at Children's Hospital Minneapolis were there to support her. COVID made it a little different on what her support network could do with her.

"Since it was COVID I couldn't have anyone go with me," said Trickel. " I actually didn't tell my family for about three days, so I actually went through a lot of it by myself."

Once having started chemo Trickel went to chemo for 4 hours twice a week and when need IV infusions to help her stay hydrated.

When Trickel said her diagnoses and treatment were tricky that continued on when she got a new update on how she was doing.

" Two days after Christmas I was given a month left to live," said Trickel. " I never told anybody actually, I didn't even tell my parents until two weeks into it."

After receiving this news, Trickel planned and took care of everything for her funeral, but she also decided to give it a fight and did intense rounds of chemo.  Her fighting paid off because in April she was put into remission, even though she is in remission Trickel is still on a chemo pill to help flush more cancer out of her bloodstream.