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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Ankeny)

1055 Southwest Oralabor Road
Ankeny, IA 50023

Current Estimated Wait:
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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

180 Jordan Creek Pkwy
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Current Estimated Wait:
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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Waukee)

950 E Hickman Rd
Waukee, IA 50263

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th Street Southwest
Altoona, IA 50009

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ankeny Medical Park

3625 North Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, IA 50023

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312

Current Estimated Wait:
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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 Southeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50320

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Urbandale

5200 NW 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322

Current Estimated Wait:
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Ethan

Eight-year-old Ethan has a big smile, a positive attitude and a curious mind – all traits that served him well this past spring as he endured the most difficult battle of his young life. 

In mid-March, Ethan's parents, Mark and Amber, took him to the doctor for stomach pain. After a follow-up visit and x-ray they ended up at Blank Children's Hospital for additional tests. It was determined that Ethan had intussusception, which is where his bowels folded in on themselves like a telescope. After two painful and unsuccessful procedures to correct the problem, Ethan required surgery for a bowel resection. During surgery, doctors found swollen lymph nodes, which were biopsied. When the pathology results came back, Ethan's family was shocked. Cancer. 

Ethan was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, a rare type of cancer that his own grandfather had been diagnosed with only three years before. With the diagnosis came port placement, lumbar puncture, bone marrow tests, PET scans and a treatment plan including four months of inpatient chemo for five to seven days each round. Ethan's cancer journey has not been easy with many appointments, inpatient chemo treatment, losing his curly hair, nausea, headaches, terrible mouth sores, lack of energy, compromised immune system, anxiety and medication management, not to mention trying to stay healthy during a pandemic. 

Even though he missed the last two months of school last school year, Ethan stayed engaged by meeting virtually with this class twice each day. When he felt well enough, he even went back to school for an outdoor visit and stood in front of his class with his little bald head, favorite port shirt on and taught his classmates about cancer. He brought all of the medical gadgets like medical tape, numbing cream for port access and glue remover to name a few. "He was so brave standing up there showing his port to everyone and being his own advocate!" said mom Amber. 

Through all of this, Ethan never once asked "Why me?" or felt sorry for himself. At first, he had a lot of anxiety and high emotions around all of the medical procedures, learning to take medications, having less energy and managing pain. As time went on, he learned that he could do these hard things and became very engaged in his treatment plan, wanting to know everything about what the medical team members are doing to him and asking about the side effects. "Many of the doctors and nurses have commented that they are impressed both by the number and quality of questions that he has asked," said dad Mark. "He has also had fun telling them lots of jokes!" 

Although he may not realize it, Ethan's bravery has been an inspiration to others during his journey. He attended his school fun run with his class and cheered for everyone even though he didn't feel his best. He also created "sunshine bags" to give to other kids on the oncology unit to uplift and encourage them to keep going. Currently, he is helping his parents form a nonprofit organization called Kid Cancer Crushers to raise money in support of pediatric cancer research with an event on September 19. "We are so proud to be his parents," said Mark and Amber. "We know he will pay forward all of the support that we've received after going through this!" 

This is Ethan's first year as a Junior Cyclone Club member, and he looks forward to attending games in Jack Trice Stadium – cancer free!