Local community rallies behind a 5 year old boy diagnosed with r - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Local community rallies behind a 5 year old boy diagnosed with rare form of cancer

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DURANT, OK -- A local community is rallying behind a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer last month. People in Durant have come together to form "Team Tristen" in honor of Tristen Baldwin. 

Tristen's aunt, Amanda Baldwin, was by his side the day he was diagnosed. 

"The worst day of my life," said Baldwin. "We went to the hospital the day before, did everything and that morning the doctor took me and my little brother into the room and told us they believed it to be cancer. Then they took us to the oncology ward..and not having kids of my own, Tristen's been a very huge part of my life."

Tristen Baldwin was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma. The tumor in his stomach is recognized for its rapid growth, usually only seen in third world countries. 

"This only happens to about 1,200 people in the United States," she said. "Fifty-nine percent being adults. So I want his story out because I don't want you to look at your child and go okay he's got a tummy ache, it's just a tummy ache. Because it's not always just a tummy ache." 

Baldwin says the Durant community has shown an outpouring of support by sending him letters and placing donation jars in businesses all over town.

"I graduated with some wonderful people," said Baldwin. "They were actually able to get together and they bought him an iPad and that's pretty much his savior while he's in the hospital" 

Baldwin says there's light at the end of the tunnel. On April 26, Tristen's doctors told him he was in remission. 

"It's hope," said Paige Thorneberry, who has taken care of Tristen in daycare since he was one year old. "That's the best way I can describe it. Seeing that look on his face, it gives us that hope we need to keep on going and find a cure." 

"I went a few weeks ago, before he got out of the hospital and he's like i'm better, i'm ready to go home," said Tristen's Great Aunt Jessica McCoul.

Tristen's parents didn't want to go on camera, but Baldwin says her brother Billy's strength is inspiring. 

"Billy teaches tristen to be strong," said Baldwin. "And I'm so proud of my brother at how amazing of a father he is. He hurts just like the rest of us, but he's awesome." 

This Saturday the Red Barn in Durant is hosting a fundraiser with live music, food and a silent auction. All of the proceeds will go towards Tristen's family and the medical expenses.