Ethan endured four years of conventional cancer treatment and a bone marrow transplant at the University of Michigan before doctors told the Grand Haven Township woman there was no hope.
“He ended up with a secondary cancer when he was just 6 years old,” Albrecht said. “The doctors told us there was nothing else they could do. They gave him enough chemo to say our goodbyes and make peace with it.”
There was no peace with it. Albrecht refused to accept the prognosis.
She prayed. She studied. She prayed some more. She opened her heart and gave credence to the impossible. She entered the miracle of mystery.
“Despite all the opposing circumstances, my mindset was God was going to see us through it,” Albrecht said recently. “We just didn’t give up.”
Albrecht took Ethan to a holistic doctor in Texas. He discovered through non-invasive testing that Ethan had benzene, a petroleum byproduct, in his bone marrow.
Benzene is a common ingredient in detergents, gasoline, crude oil and cigarette smoke; and is widely used in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans, including leukemia.
“It’s a known child bone marrow toxin that causes childhood leukemia,” Albrecht said. “It outraged me. The cleaners mopped the floors in the bone marrow transplant unit with it. They would come in three times a day and swab the room down with benzene cleaner.”
Albrecht took her son to the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico for detoxification from the benzene. Ethan drank freshly juiced kale, Romaine lettuce, parsley and other nutrient-rich vegetables.
“The leukemia disappeared,” Albrecht said. “It’s a story I’m committed to telling because I feel a lot of people, like me, are in the dark. I try to get this information to parents before they experience a crisis.
“I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault that my son got leukemia,” she continued. “Those chemicals are all around us. I’ve been helping people with kitchen consultations ... get the toxins out of their homes.”
For the last decade, Albrecht has been traveling the country to share her son’s survival story. But Ethan did more than survive when Albrecht took command of his chemical exposure and culinary choices — he thrived.
Ethan is now 18 and will graduate from homeschooling this spring.
Albrecht will lecture on "Growing Healthy Kids" at Spring Lake District Library, 123 E. Exchange St., at 2 p.m. Saturday.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.