Village of Menomonee Falls — Days before Christmas, 16-year-old Dakota Spilger's family and friends were asking for a miracle; his health was declining and it looked as if this Christmas was going to be his last.
Spilger had been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a rare form of bone marrow cancer, in January 2014. After battling the cancer and entering remission for two years, in July the MDS returned and so had a new illness, Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
But on Dec. 17, his mother, Melissa Blawat reported that his leukemia was gone.
On Thursday, Dec. 16, doctors did a bone marrow aspirate, and the following day, Blawat received a call that would change the course of her life.
"His leukemia is gone," Blawat said. "They (the doctors) don't know why and I don't care."
On Friday, Dec. 2, Spilger had entered the ICU; his appendix had doubled in size, and without treatment it would burst and send him into septic shock, but antibiotics didn't help. Surgeons were to operate the following day to save his life.
Four days later, his family decided to take him out of the hospital, and they thought it was for good.
Because of the news he is leukemia-free, Spilger is out of hospice care and he will continue his fight with MDS by receiving a transplant.
"I can hardly believe that this is true," Blawat said. "We have a really long hard road ahead but we have hope. Thank you everyone. I know that all of the energy and positivity that you put toward my son helped make this possible. It truly is a miracle. I'm going to go bawl my eyes out in gratitude and happiness now."
Through the You Caring fundraising campaign called "Dakota's Fight," the Menomonee Falls community raised more than $20,000 to support Spilger and his family. To help pay for medical bills and to allow Blawat to be with her son, 309 members of the community made donations and surpassed the fundraising goal in December.