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Billings boy officially cancer free; family drops off hundreds of toys to help others

Zeke Acheson
Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 14, 2022

BILLINGS — Thursday was a big day at the Billings Clinic Pediatric Unit as 3-year-old Zeke Acheson rang the bell to signify he is officially cancer free.

"The bell-ringing celebrations have always been one of my favorite things about my job," said Clinic Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Breanna Breeding. "There’s a lot of hard days, but this really makes it all worth it."

Zeke Acheson bell ringing
3-year-old Zeke Acheson rings the bell inside the Billings Clinic Pediatric Infusion Center to signify he's officially cancer free.

It’s the end of a two-and-a-half-year journey for Acheson. Dozens of family and friends joined in singing the 'Last Day of Chemo' song. After ringing the bell, Zeke seemed like he wanted to say, ‘What’s the big deal?’ which was no surprise for this trooper.

"That’s his life, right?" said mom Marissa Acheson. "He knows nothing else."

"Most of our kids that are younger like Zeke, they just want to be kids and want to play," Breeding added. "So they tend to do a lot better during treatment."

Last Day of Chemo song
Dozens of family and friends sang the Last Day of Chemo song to 3-year-old Zeke Acheson Thursday.

One thing that always seems to help: a toy. So Zeke’s family organized a toy drive and dropped off over 200 today.

"While Zeke was in the clinic, I know the impact (toys) made on him and how much happier it made him," Marissa said. "And the financial help was huge for us."

"They're going through things no kid should have to go through," Breeding said. "So getting a prize or a toy after a poke or a procedure makes a big difference for them."

Billings Clinic pediatric presents
The Acheson family dropped off over 200 presents Thursday for Billings Clinic pediatric patients after son Zeke, 3, was declared cancer free.

The toys will go to kids throughout the pediatric center. The family foundation, called Zekey’s Friends, wants to hold at least one drive a year and has already received donations to help 11 families with gas and grocery cards. If you'd like to donate, it doesn't take much.

"They are usually little, small toys, but that’s enough to put a big smile on a kid’s face," Breeding said.

And what could make you smile bigger than being cancer free.

Zeke Acheson sign
A sign shows 3-year-old Zeke's Acheson's first and last day of cancer treatment.