Clayton Luckadoo was only eleven years old when doctors discovered a cancerous plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor on his arm in 2009. Within weeks, he underwent surgery to remove the tumor at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Fortunately the tumor was very small, so Clayton did not require any further radiation or chemotherapy. He has remained healthy and has been closely monitored at the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center Survivorship Clinic.
Clayton and his family are grateful that his cancer experience is behind him. He is living life to the fullest, thanks to his voracious love for learning developed at an early age.
“When I was younger, I would always say that when I grew up, I wish I could have a job where learning was all I had to do,” says Clayton. “I started teaching myself several languages. I think in second grade I chose Italian because it sounded like it would be fun. Now I’m studying Spanish in school. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become interested in music. I started off with piano lessons, and in school I’ve been in band, playing both the cello and clarinet.”
It was during a high school biology class that Clayton finally realized the severity of his cancer. “At the time I just thought I was having surgery to remove a tumor,” he says. “I didn’t realize it was anything serious.”
His visits to the Survivorship Clinic have given him a better understanding of taking care of himself and heightened his awareness of changes that occur in his body. “Now I realize how lucky I was and what I need to do to stay healthy.”
A Lifelong Learner
Today Clayton is a 17-year-old high school junior whose passion to learn is stronger than ever. He has immersed himself in educational and extracurricular activities at Liberty Hill High School and in the community. He participates in his school’s UIL academic team and has been on the cross country team for the past three years. He continues to excel in his music studies and has participated in solo competitions with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Civic Orchestra. This summer he will attend a special music camp at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
His greatest dream is to perform for the Metropolitan Opera in New York or for an orchestra in Europe. “Before I play in Europe, I’ll need to learn another language, probably German because Austria is the classical musical capital of the world. And French, because of the type of clarinet I play. I need to keep learning before I’ll be entirely content.”