During Variety’s Power of Women event (sponsored by Audi), the American Horror Story creator, 53, revealed that Ford, who turned 5 earlier this month, is “cancer free.”
“Three years ago my beautiful son Ford went for a standard typical 18 month exam,” Murphy said, while presenting an award to Dana Walden, who was being honored for her with the UCLA Jonson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Fortunately, during the check-up, “Ford coughed at the exact right moment” as his physician was performing an abdominal exam.
“He sat up, she was able to press her fingers in a bit deeper, Her eyes widened. Something was not right. From that moment came a day of terror and scans,” he said, adding that the doctors found that his son had neuroblastoma. “My baby had a tumor the size of a tennis ball at 18 months growing behind his abdominal wall. And the doctor said this was bad.”
According to the American Cancer Society, “neuroblastoma starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells, most often found in an embryo or fetus” and the “type of cancer occurs most often in infants and young children. It is rare in children older than 10 years.”
After learning about his son’s diagnosis, Murphy reached out to Walden, who is godmother to both his children.
“Ford went through a six hour surgery and years of intense exams which required hours and hours of anesthesia. I cannot express to you in this room how difficult this was on him, how difficult this was for our family,” he said, adding that while he has yet to “emotionally recover” from it all, “Ford has.”
“I am so proud to proclaim that he is cancer free,” Murphy added, as the room burst out in applause.
Opening up about the lessons he learned from the experience, Murphy stressed that “this is a disease that touches us all.”
“We must help and we must be prepared and we must be proactive,” he shared, adding that last year his family made a $10 million donation to the Children’s Hospital, where Ford received treatment — thanks to Walden.
“There is now a wing dedicated under Ford’s name that specializes in helping children without our resources,” he said. “Children without a champion like we had in Dana Walden.”
Murphy first revealed his son had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma last October, shortly after Ford’s fourth birthday.
“I’d like you to meet Ford Theodore Miller Murphy. Today is a big day in his and our family’s lives,” Murphy captioned a smiling Instagram photo of Ford riding a horse.
“Two years ago, this sweet little innocent boy with a deep belly laugh and an obsession with Monster Trucks was diagnosed with neuroblastoma…an often fatal pediatric cancer. Ford’s cancer — an abdominal tumor the size of a tennis ball — was found during a normal check up by his brilliant pediatrician Dr. Lauren Crosby @drlaurencrosby,” explained Murphy. “From there, Ford has undergone a huge surgery and several difficult procedures.”
Murphy and his photographer husband, David Miller, worked through as a couple the fear and pain of watching their young son fight for his life.
“My better half, David Miller, was a rock through this — strong and patient and loving (I was always a trembling wreck),” wrote Murphy, who also shares son Logan Phineas, 6, with Miller.
Earlier that year, Murphy also opened up about the “traumatic” night Ford nearly died as an infant.
“I had a newborn baby. My son Ford was 11 months old and in the middle of the night stopped breathing,” the Glee creator said at the winter 2018 Television Critics Association press tour in January.
“We called 911. Obviously we were in panic and we were doing CPR and they showed up at 2 a.m. in the morning. There were four responders. They were incredibly and calm and nurturing. They forced me to leave the room,” Murphy explained at the panel for his Fox drama, 9-1-1. “They brought him back to life.”
According to Murphy, Ford had a “tracheal blockage in his throat that is genetic” — something he was born with and his parents were unaware of. “When they took him to the hospital they did a procedure to correct that,” he said.
Reflecting on the terrifying night, Murphy credited the emergency responders with saving Ford’s life.
“If they hadn’t shown up, I think my son would’ve died,” he said.