September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. At PCFLV, we are committed to spreading the GOLD all year long. However, in September, we truly make it our mission. 30 Days, 30 Stories celebrates the children we know and love and the brave battles they fight and have fought, with their families by their sides. In celebrating these beautiful children and their stories, we hope to inspire you to join us in our mission to SPREAD THE GOLD in September and all year long!
It took several weeks for doctors to realize what was happening to our son. We first brought Jeremiah to the hospital for stomach pains, but the doctors did not think it was anything serious. As a mother, I had a gut feeling that something was no right. I kept telling my husband that I felt there was something wrong. As time went on his pain got worse and his belly began to swell. After several different tests and an ultra sound, on March 12, 2013, they diagnosed Jeremiah with Wilms Tumor, a cancer of the kidney. We were immediately transferred from St. Luke's in Bethlehem to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA. We called St. Christopher's our home for months at a time, which is often the case with many childhood cancer families.
Jeremiah went through numerous rounds of chemotherapy and countless blood and platelet transfusions. Unfortunately the chemotherapy was not affecting the tumor so the decision was made for his kidney to be removed. The surgery took 5 hours and we were not guaranteed that he would live through surgery. We left it in God's hands.
Once the tumor was removed, Jeremiah endured several sessions of radiation. Although his treatment had finished and he had no evidence of disease, the cancer returned months later in his right lung. I feared the worst. I feared that Jeremiah would not survive. We started chemotherapy and radiation again, and he endured more blood and platelet transfusions and numerous hospitalizations.
Jeremiah is now in full remission and was one-year cancer free on March 15, 2016. It has been a very difficult few years, but I got up every day and stood on my own two feet for Jeremiah, his twin Cyprian, his brother James and my husband Cyprian. We are so thankful for everything that our doctors have done to get Jeremiah healthy. Jeremiah is our hero. He has been through so much, just like every child that you are reading about this month. Childhood cancer is an awful, relentless disease. Our kids should not be suffering the way they are. It is important for our community to get the word out about childhood cancer awareness and let people know it is in their community too. It is not rare, it is very much right next door. We all need to stand together to help families when they hear the awful words "your child has cancer".
PCFLV has been so helpful. They have truly made a difference in our lives. There are some days the gift card they gave us to the supermarket was for the food we put on our table that night. The financial strain after a child is diagnosed with cancer is insurmountable. PCFLV has provided us with so much support and they have made it possible for us to spend time together as a family without having to worry about the cost of things such as tickets. My boys were thrilled when we went to see Monster Jam at the PPL center, and it is always good to be able to see other families going through the same thing we are going through. One of my proudest moments was at the PCFLV Run to Live when Jeremiah finished the 5k without stopping.