Perspective and Perseverance and Childhood Cancer
By: Ashten Adamson
People, time and events have the ability to shape and change our perspective. We get a new job, fall in love, take a trip to some place new, lose someone we love, quit a job, break someone’s heart. It all changes our perspective. It’s a powerful thing.
On May 16, 2012, my life was significantly changed. My family and I found out my three-year-old cousin had cancer. We were devastated. It’s hard enough finding out someone who’s lived a long and happy life has cancer, but when it’s a child it’s different. It’s harsh. It changes you.
When my favorite kid was diagnosed withEwing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer typically found in teenage boys, I was just finishing up graduate school and in the transition of looking for a new job. I had been running for about a year at the time. So I made my full time job to help to take care of Asher and run whenever my heart desired. It was the hardest, yet most perfect, three months of my life.
I loved every single moment I spent with her and her mom and dad. We would take turns having sleepovers at the hospital, and I would keep her during the week so her mom could go to her art studio and her dad could go ride his mountain bike.
A year after diagnosis, my favorite kid turned four years old and had numerous rounds of chemotherapy, a femur replacement surgery to remove the main bone tumor and two weeks of radiation. The doctors called it our best shot. She went into remission and what we thought was the end of the fight.
Almost a year later, the doctors did routine scans to check her out, and they found a new tumor in her hip bone. After a month of waiting and planning, they did another round of scans and found out the tumor had grown, as well as several other tumors in her hip. Devastation settled in again and this time with a sense of desperation and urgency.
The plan of action was not one we planned on since clinical trials and stem cell rescues were the main options, as well as a different chemotherapy regimen. Surgery was ruled out once they found the numerous tumors in her hip area. So my sweet, now, five-year-old cousin has been fighting cancer yet again.
This is someone’s real life. Someone I love dearly. And the thing is there are tons of kids and families in the same boat as my favorite kid. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of those families at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The kids in the Hematology/Oncology unit at ACH are absolutely amazing. They take huge doses of medicine, undergo numerous port accesses, have life-changing surgeries, withstand bouts of radiation and still wear smiles on their faces.
When I think about how resilient those children and families are, it makes me proud to say I know some of them. It reinforces the definition of perseverance. To persist in anything undertaken, maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.
It’s that last part that gets me. To continue steadfastly.
It reminds me to keep fighting for them. For those who lost their fight. For the families who are tired and stressed and overwhelmed. For the babies, toddlers, children and teenagers who deserve a chance to live a healthy and full life.
During the month of September, we will have a toy drive for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Toy Closet. The hospital gives any child who comes through the door a happy gift to make their stay less scary. This small gift helps bring a bit of happiness to the child.
You can also join the Fleet Feet Easy Runner team for Alex’s Million Mile Lemonade Stand to help walk, run or bike a million miles in the month of September. One million miles is 40 times around the equator or two round-trips to the moon. But it’s only 76 miles for each kid or adolescent who will be diagnosed with cancer this year in theUnited Statesalone. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in theUnited States. That’s why it is vital that we raise money to cure it, now. To join our team, go to http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/1118051