Georgia Sea Turtle Center Honors One Family’s Struggle
Recently, staff at the Jekyll Island Authority’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center heard a touching story about a little boy, Silas Edenfield, from Lyons, Ga., who is battling terminal liver cancer. Silas has a passion for life and a love for sea turtles, which certainly translated to, and has since inspired, the staff at the Center.
Silas is as much a fan of sea turtles as all of the researchers and faculty at the Center. Every time 4-year-old Silas goes to have his rounds chemotherapy, he requests the “sea turtle room” at the hospital. And at home, his bedroom is filled with sea turtle stuffed animals.
The staff at the Center was moved by his story as well as his love of sea turtles, and is working to share that passion with guests. In honor of this brave boy fighting a terminal disease, the staff has named a new loggerhead patient after him. On April 27, Silas the sea turtle will be released from the Center’s care and will enter back into the wild, during the Tybee Turtle Trot on Tybee Island.
The public is invited to join the Center as they not only release the newly healed patient back to the ocean, but also celebrate the valiant spirit Silas shows through this battle in his very young life.
Here, we share Silas’ battle.
In November 2011, Jessica Edenfield noticed that her son Silas’ belly seemed to be a little bigger than normal. After rounds of doctor visits, the family was told nothing was wrong with the little boy and it must just be a growth spurt.
But something was still not right. Several months after the doctor’s visits, in February 2012, Silas started complaining that he was having trouble breathing. The family went back to the doctors and worked to find a answer. After having a CT scan and other diagnostic testing, the doctors confirmed Silas had a hepatoblastoma, a type of liver cancer. With the diagnosis made, Silas underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy, and had his tumor removed along with 60 percent of his liver.
In March of this year, Silas and his family were met with yet another challenge. The tiny tumor that was on Silas’ portal vein had quadrupled in size since his last scan a month prior. In addition, there were several more tumors forming near his liver and the cancer had spread with about ten nodules on his lungs. “No curative treatment,” were the words Archie and Jessica Edenfield heard next from the doctors.
The Edenfields had two options: try nothing, in which case Silas may have 2 to 6 months to live; or continue looking for alternative treatments that may buy Silas 6 months, a year, or maybe more. Currently, the Edenfields are spending as much time with their family as possible and are asking individuals touched by Silas’ story to pray for him and the family.
“For us on Jekyll Island and at the Sea Turtle Center, we have been moved by this tragic disease that is effecting Silas and his family,” said Anna Hall, communications specialist for the Jekyll Island Authority. “While we cannot cure Silas or lift this burden from his family, we can celebrate their brave spirit in this hard fight, and honor him with this very special gift, a loggerhead sea turtle released back to its ocean home. It is our hope that this gift can provide him with hope.”
About the Georgia Sea Turtle Center: Established in 2007 on Jekyll Island and operated by the Jekyll Island Authority, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center was developed as an institution devoted to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles and preservation of the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem. Through sea turtle rehabilitation, research and educational programs, Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff work to increase awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health and empower individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment. For information, visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org.