These are some of our favorite stories to share and it is the support of everyone that makes this all possible:
My name is Johnathan White. My life was forever changed on July 3, 2019. I was selected to attend camp for a week! I had a physical, got all my things packed and was ready! My mom took me to the meeting place. We said our good byes to loved ones and we were off to camp in King, NC. I was feeling a little sick the next day. The camp staff kept an eye on me. I was still feeling sick. I wasn’t able to hold any food or water down. One of the camp directors called my mom and informed her what was happening. On July 3rd, the camp director took me to the hospital in Winston Salem. When mom got to the hospital, I was in the ER admissions. They took me to get x-rays. When the doctors came in, they told my mom the results look like a tumor and more tests need to be done. After more tests, it was confirmed: Wilms Tumor-Kidney Cancer! My mom was in shock!! The doctors informed my mom that the tumor had destroyed my kidney. The tumor and kidney had to be removed. I had surgery on July 4th.
After surgery, I had to recover, get physical therapy and get set up with a treatment plan. I had to have chemo and radiation treatments. When I was released from Brenner, I came home for a little while. I started chemo/radiation treatments in UNC Chapel Hill. I had a wonderful team of doctors, nurses and aides. Because I have so many allergies, some of the treatments made me sick. I had a few stays in the UNC-Children’s Hospital.
After I finished my chemo/radiation treatments, I was finally able to ring the bell! That was an awesome day. Because of COVID-19, family and friends were not able to attend.
I am feeling and doing better now. I still have to get scans every three months for two years. If my scans are good for these two years, I’ll have them done every year. Fingers crossed!!
My parents have been my biggest supporters!! They have been by my side from day ONE!! Thanks MOM & Dad!!! I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!!!
About Children’s Cancer Partners
Every year, over 600 children in the Carolinas are diagnosed with cancer. The impact on a family is heart-overwhelming. The most treatable cancer types may require 3-4 treatment trips per week, often requiring multi-night stays depending on the child’s tolerance for chemo or radiation. Some cancers require more specialized treatments available only in New York, Houston, or beyond for weeks at a time. No one plans or budgets for cancer. This is where Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas (CCP) makes a difference.
Once diagnosed, children are referred to CCP by a hospital social worker. Within 24 hours, we respond and schedule a meeting where we learn about their particular circumstances, challenges and needs. Our support is immediate, as we assist with costs of treatment transportation/lodging/meals and required homecare. For families who are “fortunate” to have in-state treatment, we advance/reimburse mileage costs and lodging and meals away-from-home during treatment.
Many children require more specialized care at national centers in New York, Houston or beyond, and we cover airfares, ground transportation, hotels and meals, regardless how often or far they must travel. Most specialized treatments require stays of a week or more for each administration; a bone marrow transplant requires the child to be hospitalized for 100 days minimum, with the caregiver continuously nearby and available,
The children and family members are invited to our Family Night events where they can connect with others on the same perilous journey; peer support is very important. We support the entire family, especially including siblings. All are welcome at our annual “Holiday from Cancer” Parties in December, and our CAMP VICTORY in June, a residential camp for the entire family conducted on the YMCA Greenville campgrounds in Cleveland, South Carolina.
Our support is comprehensive and includes assistance through the Piedmont United Way Gift-in-Kind Distribution Center, where our volunteer shoppers gather household and personal care items that so rapidly become unaffordable for struggling families. Should extreme financial circumstances arise – utility shut-offs, evictions, auto repossessions or foreclosures, we intercede with relief but also give financial literacy guidance and education to help the family “right-size” their harsh living situation and find sustainability.
Our support is continuous until the child-patient reaches age 21, but also inclusive. Unfortunately, we bid farewell to Superheroes; when this happens, we assist with funeral costs, and arrange grief counseling for surviving family members. Families never leave our attention, and some have become our most loyal volunteers, giving support and solace to others.