Chris was more than just a twelve year old boy who had his life cut short by acute lymphoblastic leukemia; he was our son and a person who had a strong desire to do his part to preserve our environment. Chris loved the outdoors and especially loved gardens and natural areas where he could explore the landscape and look for insects and animals. Boy Scout camping trips were a favorite activity and the U.S. Botanic Garden was a favorite place for him to take friends. But he did more than just love the outdoors, he actively worked to preserve our environment by constantly reminding me and his father to turn off lights when we left a room, regularly picking up trash in the school yard, and engaging in various recycling efforts. Chris’ environmental stewardship was so profound that his middle school now holds an annual “green day” to remember Chris’ commitment to environmental awareness. When Chris was diagnosed with cancer, his iPad provided him with great comfort. It allowed him to stay connected to friends and helped to take his mind off the horrible disease plaguing his body.
Chris loved water. Lake, stream, pond, river or ocean, he cherished them all. Some of his favorite spots were the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Lake Balaton and Lake Orfu in Hungary, Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Tampa, Florida, Sandy Point Beach Park in Maryland, Lake Merriweather at the Boys Scout reservation at Goshen.
He loved spending time with his friends and travelling. His first international trip was to Hungary at the age of 11 months. He visited that country almost every year of his life. He visited Mexico, the Bahamas and Brazil.
Chris joined the Cub Scouts at age six and was an active member of Pack 167. He especially enjoyed nature and all kinds of outdoor activities. He participated in several hikes and camping trips. As a cub scout he attended Goshen summer camp twice for one week. He moved on to Boys Scout Troop 647 in 2012 and took his first independent summer camp trip to Goshen in the summer of that year.
Chris was diagnosed with T-cell type ALL leukemia in September 2012, three weeks after starting 6th grade in Williamsburg Middle School. He proudly took the school bus to and from school and enjoyed his growing independence responsibly until September 26, the day of his diagnosis. He was referred to Georgetown University Hospital where he was started right away on a protocol for his type of disease. He was inpatient for two weeks followed by outpatient treatment with regular clinic visits. After about one month from diagnosis his cancer was in remission. Treatment continued with encouraging results until about mid March of 2013 when he was hospitalized with fever and low blood counts on March 23. He needed frequent blood and platelet transfusions. After numerous tests that ruled out infection, virus or fungus, a diagnosis of HLH was established. This was around mid April. It was then that we decided to transfer him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital which is acknowledged as the best hospital in the US for this type of illness, and we wanted to give him the best treatment possible for HLH. We arrived in Cincinnati to the bone marrow transplant unit where children with HLH are treated. Again, scores of tests and initial treatments of heavy chemo drugs followed. After about two weeks Chris was transferred to the oncology unit. According to the latest diagnosis his HLH morphed into malignant histiocytic sarcoma, a very rare and special type of malignancy. For this condition there was not really any known treatment option or protocol. Doctors tried several chemo drugs and radiation to no avail. On June 7, 2013, it was Chris’ wish to return to Georgetown, to his home hospital, as he put it. He passed away on June 12, 2013, nine months after his initial diagnosis, at the age of 13.
Two days before he died, Chris officially graduated sixth grade on June 10th, 2013.
He is survived by his parents Ilona and Attila Lantos, relatives in Hungary and his cat Mr. Mittens.