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6-year-old boy is free of leukemia

Wiley Bachmann of Frazee will celebrate his 7th birthday on Saturday. After more than three years of treatment, he is now leukemia-free.

This weekend Wiley Bachmann is going to be celebrating one of the biggest milestones of his life. Not only is he turning 7 Saturday, he has also beat leukemia, and after three and a half years, is done with treatment.

Diagnosed with Type B Acute Lymphoid Leukemia at age 3, it started out with just complaints of body aches.

Dad Jake Bachmann, of Frazee, said that they took Wiley to the doctor and was told it was a viral infection.

But, with his wife Shantel's training at White Drug Pharmacy, she knew something more was wrong with her son. She took him back to the doctor and demanded more tests. This time they found cancer.

"She couldn't even call me and tell me," Bachmann said. "It was hard to swallow."

The doctor called Bachmann and he left work to come hear the news. They took their son to Fargo for more tests and found that he had leukemia. Thankfully, though, it was caught early.

Wiley had a port put in his chest for monthly chemo treatments. Plus he had a variety of pills he had to take each day for the last three and a half years.

Since there was no tumor, Wiley didn't need radiation.

On Jan. 7, he took his last pill.

"He's been on pills most of his life," Bachmann said.

And on Dec. 30, he had his port removed.

Since his immune system was so delicate, Wiley never went to daycare or rode the school bus.

"We've become germaphobes," Jake said with a laugh, "but it's for the better,"

When Wiley started kindergarten, staff personnel from the Roger Maris Cancer Center came to his classroom and talked to the students about his port, telling them to be careful not to play rough with him.

There were a couple other kids in the class with other illnesses, so Wiley "befriended the sick kids because he knew what they were going through," Bachmann said.

He said that his son missed about 50 days of kindergarten, with being sick, going to the doctor and such, but Wiley's drive helped him keep up with his classmates and move on to first grade with them.

"My son is exceptional with what he's been through, he said."

The Bachmanns did have one extra scare along the way though -- chicken pox. Wiley and his sister, Karli, have had to put their vaccines on hold while Wiley was sick because of the live virus in most vaccines.

Wiley went to a party with other kids, not knowing that one of the boys had just had his chicken pox shot, and Wiley contacted chicken pox. He spent seven days in the intensive care unit and still has scars all over his body from them. Karli, 4, also contracted the pox from Wiley, so now both kids have that out of the way.

Bachmann said that this lifestyle is all that both of his children know since it's been going on for so long and they are so young.

Now that it's over, Bachmann said they've been told that the chances of Wiley getting leukemia again are very slim, but it does attack harder the second time around.

There is a seven-year period from when he started treatment where doctors will watch him extra closely for reoccurrences.

Bachmann said it's because of his wife's knowledge and persistence that doctors were able to find out what was wrong with Wiley early.

"It's amazing what she knows," he said.

Over the years, the Bachmanns have had lots of support, he said, especially from his wife's mother and his grandparents.

"It's been a blessing to have all these people who care," he said.

So Saturday, the Bachmanns are hosting an appreciation party for all those who helped along the way. It will be held at Holiday Inn poolside from 1 to 5 p.m.

"It's a celebration party. It's finally come to an end -- a good end, at that."