Cancer treatment is a fight, but it is also a rollercoaster ride of emotions with unimaginable ups and downs.
As our son Cooper went through cancer treatment for leukemia, we didn’t take that rollercoaster ride alone. There were other kids with cancer, sitting in the seats next to us.
As I think of all the other parents and kids who have sat beside us on this cancer treatment rollercoaster over the years, I know that each of them has impacted me in their own special way.
Knox: A Baby Who Brought Out The “Fight” In Me
First there was baby Knox, with those big eyes and that smile that could melt hearts.
We connected with Knox and his family in the halls of sixth floor during one of Cooper’s first hospitalizations. I wept from my seat on the rollercoaster when baby Knox took his last breath on October 29, 2012. He had just turned 1.
The despair and helplessness of this horrible ride was overpowering. And losing Knox lit a fire underneath me that is still burning—a desire to raise money for childhood cancer research, so other babies don’t run out of treatment options like he did.
I think of his precious face often, and it fuels the fire.
Alex: A Pint-Sized Fount Of Wisdom
Alex was another child with cancer we met in the halls of sixth floor. He was diagnosed just 3 days after Cooper with basically the same kind of leukemia.
I instantly bonded with his mom, Jamie, as we shared our worries, concerns, and fears. Throughout treatment, I spent countless hours on the phone with her as we rode the ups and downs of treatment.
Alex was so sweet and would always humor me when I asked him questions. I was trying to get insight into what Cooper might be feeling because Cooper, at 2, was still too young to talk.
Now that Cooper is older, he and “Big Alex,” as Cooper calls him, have a special bond and are always excited to see each other when checkup dates align.
Lolo: A Little Girl With Big Courage
Then we met Lolo, the precious redhead whose mom would become one of my closest friends. Like so many of the kids who battle cancer, Lolo is brave when I would be a coward.
Her faith in the darkest hours has inspired me to dig deeper into my own faith, and my heart melts when I watch her and her brother play so sweetly with our little boys.
Holding On During A Scary Ride—Together
These people—passengers trapped on the same horrible ride as us—have impacted our childhood cancer experience in more ways than we can even understand.
They have been strong in the seats next to us. In grasping their hands, we’ve been comforted and inspired through all the ups and downs of childhood cancer.
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