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Monday, September 26, 2011

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Our son's story

This month {all of September} is childhood cancer awareness month.  
There is less than a week left to choose to honor our heroes this month and do something.
I promise you, cancer does not discriminate. 
Even an 11-month old, without a care in the world, growing happily, 
loved immensely, can be diagnosed with cancer.

We know.  

This is our sweet son, Ethan, on the day a cancerous tumor was removed.
In this picture, cancer was growing inside of my precious little boy.
{I don't mean to be graphic about it, but I know for me at least, the truth moves.}
I thank God constantly for us knowing this in time.

For having the tumor be visible enough to me to know something was not right.
For a wonderful pediatrician who did not know what was wrong, 
but knew we needed to act immediately.
For the courage at the ER to stand up for my child
when being told by the expert that our son was likely fine and we could leave.
I have no idea what would have happened if we didn't push for the test 
that ultimately told us the unimaginable.  
If the surgeon on call {recommended by our pediatrician}
had not stopped to pray with our family,  promise to take the best care of our little miracle,
and quoted what was to become the most precious bible verse ever to us...

Phillipians 4: 5-6

{Ethan headed in to surgery}

While surgery in and of itself is scary, we were even more overcome by
what we would find out next.

Our worst thoughts were confirmed.  The tumor was cancerous.

{Ethan at home after surgery, 
it was past midnight, little night owl}

{Ethan the day after surgery}

Ethan was an Oncology patient for three years at Children's Memorial in Chicago.
We celebrated milestones in his life, including a first birthday, not knowing if he was 
cancer-free.  Testing was done frequently and routinely.  There were moments his  numbers would climb again.  We were worried despite our best efforts.  We always found something to do after testing, a visit to the zoo, etc., but it was always in the back of our minds, a pit in our stomachs.

Yet, the prayers, encouragement, people who reached out to us helped immensely.
Our little family unit of three, remained incredibly strong.  
We held on to our motto to never take a thing for granted.

{Ethan and Daddy at Children's Memorial Chicago}

Ethan is now 6 and his testing is done yearly. 
While we chose to not live in fear, the reality is that having cancer will always be part of his life.
He has the battle scars that cannot be forgotten, but it will not define him ever.  

For the past {highly celebrated} five years we have shared Ethan's story.

He was Junior Grand Marshall at our Relay for Life.

He walks the survivor lap every year.

We have collectively, as a team of our family and friends, raised over $30,000 to fight cancer.

We share Ethan's story for HOPE.  Soon we will pass along the decision to share his story 
and to determine the role it will play in his life onto our amazing first born.

While lives move forward, and we focus on all of the joy, we will never forget.  
We want all children diagnosed with cancer to have a story like Ethan's.
A story of hope.  A positive outcome.
The only way we can do this is through helping the organizations trying to cure it.

It breaks my heart into pieces knowing there are so many children
whose parents could not have known, whose stories are without a happy ending, 
who have had to endure so very much.
Through Ethan's journey we got to know some of these families.
We have achingly seen our heroes leave us here on earth.
The pain their parents feel, immeasurable.

What can we do?

First, talk about it.  Eradicate the thought that cancer only affects adults.
Fund research.  Support programs for the children diagnosed.

Here are a few of the amazing organizations out there to support.
{I am sure you have heard of them all for good reason.}
There are so many ways to do so, buy your Christmas gifts through St. Jude,
host one of the activities CureSearch suggests at your school.
They do not have to be long, difficult, or time-consuming.

St. Jude
St. Baldricks
{Ethan was the 2010 sponsor child for a local event}

Support camps for children with cancer

Beads of Courage {for children with any serious illness}

{Ethan's beads, one for every milestone in being cancer-free}

The American Cancer Society

I also create capes through Little Marvels  for children with cancer.  
You can contact me at michelle(at)little-marvels(dot)com for more info.  

To all who have taken up the fight against childhood cancer,
we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  

I thank you for taking the time to read about our little hero's biggest triumph.
It's exactly why his zest for life, his live-every-moment attitude
is so incredibly beautiful and profound.

From one proud mama to my 5 little miracles.

Insightful article on one of Ethan's amazing nurses at Children's Memorial.


  1. wow, i cannot even imagine going through that.

    God sure works wonders and miracles.

    Praying for continued health and clear scans...and praying for those children and families still fighting.

  2. What a beautiful story! I not only pray for your Ethan's continued health but for all the children and families who have to endure such difficulties! God Bless!

  3. I aam following you now. Thanks for sharing. i am making pillowcases for children's hospital right now and patients like Ethan is exactly why I am doing it.
    I will think of him and his inspiration.
    Blessngs to you!!!

  4. I can't even imagine! What an inspiration you and your entire family are!

  5. What a journey... Praising God for your little boy's miracle...


I so appreciate your sweet thoughts and thank you for sharing. I always try to reply whether it be to your email or on one of your blog posts! Wishing you a wonder*filled day! Michelle

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