Young WV man with autism battles cancer

West Virginia

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month and one young, Fayetteville man has overcome one of life’s toughest battles, cancer.

At the age of 25, Charles “Chase” Gore III was diagnosed with stage four Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of cancer.

Charles’ Mom, LeeAnn Gore said, “we were the couple that was told that there was no record of anybody living past two years with this diagnosis.”

The diagnosis was especially difficult for LeeAnn as this wasn’t Charles’ first medical diagnosis.

“How do you explain to someone who is autistic that they have cancer? That they have a very rare form of cancer? And the one thing about Chase was he had it in perspective,” said LeeAnn.

Charles was 3 1/2 years old when his parents learned he had autism. He is considered high functioning on the spectrum and enjoys socializing and being around people, however, communication is still a barrier.

Doctor has to communicate with Charles using different approaches during treatment. Dr. Rabi Hanna, a pediatric hematologist at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center said it’s important to treat the patient, not the disease.

“The care is not just the medication or the radiation we use, it is how do you deliver it in a way, we learn how much he loves music therapy, so it was essential to help us understand him,” said Dr. Hanna.

“One thing about autism is they put it in those terms and they’re very literal, so whatever the doctor said, he did,” said LeeAnn.

After four long years of fighting, on October 15, 2020, Charles miraculously beat cancer. Traditionally patients ring a bell when cancer free, while people clap and cheer.

But Charles had a specials request as he is sensitive to some noises.

“He does have a problem with people clapping, I don’t know why, so instead, they snapped their fingers,” said LeeAnn.

Charles has reached 100 days being cancer-free, a significant milestone for any cancer patient.

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