My son's name is Aaron and he was a gift from God in that he came to us through adoption. He's the sweetest little boy and from the moment I held him, just seconds old, he has been the center of my world. Due to divorce, we are now a family of three - myself, my mom and Aaron.
My son was 5 when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was just three weeks into a brand new experience - Kindergarten. It came out of nowhere. No obvious symptoms. We woke up on September 20th to get ready for church and he was covered head to toe with a strange rash. Our journey through the world of pediatric cancer came at us very abruptly and it hasn't stopped yet. After 5 months of intensified chemotherapy treatments, blood transfusions, platelets, bone marrow biopsies and aspirates we were unable to obtain remission and headed to Duke University for a life-saving Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant. We spent 7 months in Durham, NC while Aaron underwent and recovered from this procedure which required that I walk away from my job. As of March 18, 2018, Aaron is two years cancer free and two years post Bone Marrow Transplant. Thank you, Jesus! He is now 8 and loves soccer and his doggy Sebastian.
He is still undergoing treatment for a transplant side effect known as Graft vs. Host Disease. The donor cells are still not playing nice with his original cells but we are working toward that. In the meantime, it's not the most comfortable thing for Aaron to endure as it causes GI and skin issues that are just constant and aggravating for Aaron. Please join us in prayers for this.
Aaron has not been in school full time since his diagnosis. He spent all but the first three weeks of Kindergarten on homebound. First grade was all-homebound and he's been in school about 40 days of this year's attempt at first grade. His homeschool teacher is the best and we pray that 2nd grade will be an easy adjustment for him in the fall. He has dreams of becoming a firefighting veterinarian and I'm trusting and hoping that God has the same plans and will make a way for him to catch up where he's fallen behind.
Throughout this journey, God has just shown up in so many unbelievable ways. He has surrounded us so completely with exactly what we have needed. A bible verse at the right time to speak to the very thing that we were struggling with. A hug, a phone call at just the right time, amazing doctors, treatment options (many families we've gotten to know don't have options), resources to buy prescriptions, to travel out of state for treatment and pay bills that couldn't get paid while I was unemployed for 14 months. We were indeed blessed with a faith community that just picked us up and held us tight and refused to let go. Many in this community we've never met and yet God has still brought them to our side. We were so amazingly blessed. You all are a part of that community, as are organizations like Special Love. Aaron has also enjoyed a week of camp through Special Love. There he was able to just be himself. He was amongst fellow survivors who understand his issues and were not as harsh on him as other children have been because they just don't understand what he's been through.
We live on such a very tight budget due to the financial fall out that comes along with a pediatric cancer diagnosis. This tight budget makes camp and respite opportunities impossible to even think about. When you add my single parent status into that equation - the impossible just got that much more impossible. So with all my heart, I thank you for following God's calling and being the light for our family as we continue to work through this journey of pediatric cancer. My family is thankful for all of you!
About the Camp Scholarships Program
Children's Cancer Recovery Foundation's Camp Scholarships Program provides funding for a child in remission to attend a camp of their choice. Cancer often isolates children from their friends and activities they love. The Camp Scholarships Program helps children in remission to reconnect with those friends and activities. Camp allows children who have faced a cancer diagnosis to gain independence, make new friends, and develop new skills. You can sponsor a child and send them to camp by donating to CCRF's Camp Scholarships Program. Mail cash or check to 249 Lincoln Way E., New Oxford, PA 17350 or donate online at https://give-ccrf.networkforgood.com/.