When 10-year-old Billy Fischer began showing signs of water diabetes, parents Morgan and Dana of Upper Brookville, scrambled for answers.
Initially, Billy was misdiagnosed, and doctors thought the symptoms were emotional, fueled by anxiety.
Finally, after a 10-day diagnosis, the Fischers learned that their son had a rare form of cancer called germinoma, with two tumors the size of peas along the pituitary gland.
The fourth grader was immediately given boatloads of medications, and would soon begin a rigorous 12-week course of chemotherapy at the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
For the Fischer family, humor played a huge role in working towards a cure, which is especially reflected in moments like these, when the 10-year-old breaks from serious conversation for a quick tagline.
"I was scared to death, but I knew I'd kick cancer's ass," said Billy, of learning his diagnosis.
"It was very difficult for him, and us as parents," said Dana Fischer, Billy's mother. "Before cancer, Billy was just a perfectly normal and balanced kid. Then, he had poison all throughout his body. He was given steroids, he lost his hair. We got through it with humor and support for each other. While we saw families torn apart by similar circumstances in the hospital, we were brought closer than ever before."
Following an extensive amount of chemo and radiation, the cancer appears cured for now. However, there is up to a 5 percent rate of return, in which case the mortality rate rises to 50 percent and survivors are effected more severely.
Still, the Fischers say they're just grateful for every day together.
"I'm so lucky to have been cured, and I think every kid deserves a cure," said the Locust Valley Middle School Student, who's still going through recovery with speech and cognition. "No matter how bad it might be, I think cancer patients should know that they can get through it."
To show their gratitude, the Fischers set up the Billy Fischer Cancer Research Fund, which benefits the Cohen Children's Medical Center. They are hosting a fundraiser at the Downtown Cafe Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
"If Billy, one of the strongest, funniest, people I've ever met can get it, anybody can get it," said John Zozzaro, an owner of Downtown Cafe. "The more money we have, the more we can spend on research and working towards cures."