Hospitals and doctors' groups say a critical treatment for childhood leukemia could run out in weeks due to a national drugs shortage. The news is leaving cancer patients and their parents in limbo.
Porter Lilly is only nine years old, but he's a fighter.
"I like going to hockey games," he said. "I like going to baseball games."
He's also a fighter in the bout of, and for, his life. Porter has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a particularly aggressive form of cancer that produces too many white blood cells in bone marrow.
"I thought maybe he had a cold, he had a virus," said his mother, Jennifer.
"I thought it was just a fever," said Porter.
This would turn out to be much more than a common cold.
"Being told that my child has cancer was devastating," said Jennifer.
"My mind just went blank," said Porter. "I couldn't think of why I could've got cancer."
"Why him," asked his mother. "Why not me?"
Four months of treatment, including chemotherapy, have put Porter's cancer in remission -- for now. But a drug crucial to his recovery is now in dangerously short supply.
"Without it, the cancer would go into his spine and his brain," said Jennifer.
Methotrexate prevents the cancerous cells from spreading once it's injected directly into the spine. Its supplies have dwindled rapidly since November, when its primary manufacturer temporarily shut down production over quality control concerns.
"There are other drugs on the market that can be used but they are not as effective," said Jennifer. "When you hear the words 'not as effective,' you don't want that."
"I don't know what those drugs -- what happens if I took those drugs," said Porter.
Doctors' groups are calling on other manufacturers to fill the void, but it's uncertain if supplies will run out.
According to the FDA, drug companies haven't kept more methotrexate on hand because it has a low profit margin.
"They've put profit margin over my child's head," said Jennifer. "I don't think that they're in the business of curing people, of curing diseases. I think they're in the business of making money."
Doctors estimate Porter will need more than 20 additional doses of methotrexate over the next three years to keep his leukemia at bay.