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After a week on the run, 13-year-old Daniel Hauser was facing his first court-ordered chemotherapy in relatively good spirits after meeting with cancer specialists Wednesday at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, said his family's lawyer, Calvin Johnson.
"Everybody is trying to be sensitive to Danny's needs, and to address fears that he may have," said Johnson. "I think that's very important ... because he wants to get on with the business of getting better."
With a nationwide manhunt behind him, the boy from Sleepy Eye, Minn., showed up for his appointment accompanied by his mother, lawyer, social worker and court-appointed guardian. Daniel, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma, had vowed not to return to the hospital after his first chemotherapy treatment in February.
"Children's Hospital welcomed Danny and his mom with open loving arms," Johnson said Wednesday. "Danny seemed to be responding to that very well."
A judge in New Ulm had made it clear the Hausers could lose custody of Daniel if he didn't show up for Wednesday's appointment.
District Judge John Rodenberg had ordered Daniel to receive chemotherapy and radiation after a court hearing earlier this month, rejecting his parent's decision to use only alternative therapies. The boy's doctors had argued Daniel would likely die without medical treatment.
The case drew national attention when Daniel and his mother, Colleen Hauser, disappeared before a May 19 court-ordered appearance and fled to California before returning Monday.
On Tuesday, Rodenberg ruled that Daniel could remain with his parents, but said that was "conditioned upon strict compliance" with several actions. According to an order made public Wednesday, they include:
• Daniel and his parents following his doctor's course of treatment, including multiple chemotherapy sessions. "One additional cycle of chemotherapy will not suffice," Rodenberg wrote.
• Daniel appearing at his medical appointment Wednesday and his chemotherapy appointment today.
• Physicians keeping the court updated with Daniel's treatment.
"If everyone does as they have now committed to do," the judge wrote, "Daniel is likely to recover from his disease and to live a full life."
The hospital declined to comment on the boy's condition, saying the family had requested privacy.
Johnson, though, praised the hospital staff for taking steps to ease the boy's fears.
Programs to help kids cope
Dr. Susan Sencer, medical director of the cancer program at Children's, said the hospital has therapists and other specialists to help children and their families cope. "Our entire program is about trying to make the journey through cancer therapy as meaningful and as easy as possible," she said.
Although she declined to talk about the Hauser case, she said the hospital also offers natural therapies, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and yoga, to help children with the side effects and stress of treatment.
Sheriffs cars, TV trucks leave
Meanwhile, life was returning to normal at the Hauser farm Wednesday. Sheriffs cars, which had shielded the driveway for some days, had left, as had the TV trucks. Daniel's father, Anthony Hauser, tended to the daily chores, traveling from the farm across the street to its dairy operations via red pickup.
Also Wednesday, Brown County Attorney James Olson said he has no plans to charge California lawyer Susan Daya in connection with Daniel and Colleen Hauser's trip to southern California.
Federal authorities were looking for Daya, who also goes by the name Hamwi, during the Hausers' week as fugitives. Daya was in New Ulm with the Hausers when they disappeared and has said she used her credit card to purchase Daniel and Colleen's tickets before the boy's mother repaid her with a check.
Staff writer Curt Brown contributed to this report. Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384 Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168