AURORA, Colo. -- Konstantin Zaremski was diagnosed in early September with a rare form of lymphoma. In June, he noticed sores in his mouth.
After about two months of testing, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado performed a deep biopsy and discovered the boy has cancer.
“It’s sad and heartbreaking,” his mother Tatyana said.
Zaremski is a junior at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch. The teen was in the Code Club in middle school. The club is for students interested in computer coding.
At 13 years old, Zaremski developed an app for smartphones consisting of features such as school announcements, an interactive planner and a way for teachers to remind students of homework assignments and tests.
“The app will keep all things for students in one, convenient location and prevent the buildup of paper waste so the school can go green,” the then-13-year-old Zaremski said.
The app won some state and regional awards. Zaremski and his team were hoping it would win a national contest, along with a $20,000 grant to finish the app.
“It’s a life-changing opportunity, so I really don’t want to mess it up,” he said in 2014.
Sometimes, life changes anyway.
Zaremski is now facing a year of recovery in his battle against cancer. He’s already had a few surgeries, and will need chemotherapy, radiation, a bone marrow transplant and reconstruction surgery for the roof of his mouth.
“We have insurance and everything. I mean, we have good insurance and hopefully it’ll cover it but there are a lot of hidden costs,” Tatyana Zaremski said.
According to the family, their annual out-of-pocket maximum is $10,500. They believe they will hit that amount in 2016 and 2017.
Plus, they didn’t have a budget for daily trips between Highlands Ranch and Aurora while Konstantin is in the hospital. Sometime in the near future, Konstantin will also have to travel to Houston for a bone marrow transplant.
“We went through rough times over the past couple of years. It was difficult for my husband to find work,” Tatyana said.
Although they are tight on funds, she believes the family will make it through physically, emotionally and financially.
“We would sell everything we can. I mean, what would you do? It’s your child,” she said.
A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe account to help the family make ends meet while Konstantin is in treatment.