I met Cole's mom, Keren (everyone calls her Kerrie, but I cannot do this!), at a training for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Ambassadors. My girls were little. Lily was just 2 years out from her brain tumor diagnosis and treatment. I hadn't ever really been in a room socializing with other childhood cancer parents before. I know that sounds strange, since I spent hours and and hours in the hospital and in clinic waiting rooms. However, with the exception of the friend I made in Houston while our kids had proton radiation, I steered clear of other childhood cancer families.
I could barely handle myself. I was not in a mental space to handle another mom going through a similar experience.
That day changed everything.
We, as in childhood cancer families, are all continuously told that childhood cancer is rare. And yes, in a numerical sense, childhood cancer is indeed very rare. But, to our families it is not rare at all—it is familiar and common and constant.
I mentioned Keren, because her son Cole was diagnosed with neuroblastoma the same year my daughter Lily was diagnosed an Ependymoma. Both our kids made to 15 years without their original cancer coming back. Both fought through long and late term side effects. Both Keren and I lived the best lives we could in between scans.
This summer, Cole had pain, pain so bad he had to go to the hospital. When I interviewed him about his story—he said he thought it was just another health struggle; that they’d do something and he’d be home.
Instead he was diagnosed with pancreatoblastoma, a one in a billion cancer diagnosis.
Cole is someone we love. There is nothing rare for us about his diagnosis. It is right there. Cole is in treatment. His amazing family is right by his side.
Cole has to be okay.
He told me they he’d beat this and I know he will. But that doesn’t lessen the pain and the unfairness of all of this.
Cole also told me that money can do magic things. (You can watch the video, he said it so well.) Money funds research and research finds cures.
I know Giving Tuesday is just about over; but if you haven’t made a donation anywhere today or you have extra to give, please make a donation to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in honor of Cole.
We will find cures, one cup at a time. You can donate, right here.