Today we celebrate a Superhero, Brian. Brian has been an inspiration from the day he was born overcoming many odds. In March of 2018, Brian was diagnosed with Leukemia and rang the bell on April 14, 2021 after 3 years of treatment.
“Ringing the bell marks a milestone for families, symbolizing all they have been through and overcome. A day they have anticipated since they first heard the word cancer it’s a way to celebrate the end of treatment and start a new chapter of survivorship. The sound can also resonate with families still fighting their battles with cancer, providing hope, knowing that it means another child’s treatment has come to an end. “-Shannon Brown, CCP Director of Family Programs
Words from Brian’s dad about their journey with childhood cancer:
“I will never forget where I was when the call came. I was in the middle of an all-hands-on-deck corporate meeting. I had just started a new career and I was in St. Louis for a week of training. My wife and son were in Greenville, SC, 652 miles away dealing with what we thought was an infection in my son’s shoulders. My wife, Jessica, had called earlier that day saying the doctor had come in to do some additional tests to see if something else might also be an issue. So there I was in the middle of a 200 person meeting with my phone buzzing. One missed call. Two missed calls. Three. Four. By the fifth I had to stand up and walk out on a Vice President’s speech to answer. And that is when I found out that my seven-year-old boy, Brian, had cancer.
Cancer changes everything. And not gradually. It changes it like a car wreck, tragic and instant. I got an early flight home the next day and went straight to the hospital. That is the first way life changes, the hospital is now home. That is when we met Children’s Cancer Partners (CCP). They practically met us at the room. Everything is a blur in those first days. Too many doctors, too many tests, too many questions, and too few answers. The people with CCP offered help and a friend that would walk with us through this time. We really didn’t know what that would mean at the time but we would learn. We are blessed that we live only a few miles from a wonderful Cancer Clinic and hospital in Greenville, SC but many are not as blessed. CCP made sure that we were reimbursed for the travel to the hospital and to the cancer clinic in the years to follow. With a cancer like Leukemia, the treatment is not counted in days but in years. For years, CCP continued to pay every week without fail as we wore grooves in the highway back and forth.
Cancer changes everything. There is a unique strain that it puts on a family especially with a child. Life gets stretch in painfully ways. Time is consumed with clinic visits and hospital stays. The disease acts as a black hole sucking and distorting everything else in life into its black tentacles. Relationships get tested and thinned. Nerves get wore down as weeks of steroid-induced anger trickle by again and again. Emotions are frayed in a life of innate uncertainty. Children’s Cancer Partners supported our family by paying to allow us to get counseling and therapy throughout the battle. It gave us the support and the comfort to be a family growing together in tragedy not being pulled apart. It was invaluable and Lord only knows where we might be without.
Cancer changes everything. But it doesn’t always change it for the worst. CCP also came alongside our family and partnered with a vision my wife, Jessica had to help others that will sadly have to go down the same path we have trod. After we got done with our first couple of months of intensive treatments which involved many hospital stays, Jessica decided to start putting together bags of supplies for parents of children newly diagnosed with cancer. So we went to the store with a couple hundred dollars and bought supplies and filled some bags and went to the hospital. They thought it was a great idea and within about a month, those bags were gone. So we bought some more. Then those were gone. Wanting to expand the idea, we presented it to Children’s Cancer Partners and they took it and ran. Now Little Brian’s Bags of Blessings are given to every family in NC and SC immediately after they are admitted to the hospital for pediatric cancer. CCP made that happen and now more families can know in those first days of diagnosis that they are not alone and they are loved. We are thankful that while cancer changes everything, Children’s Cancer Partners is never changing in its commitment to support families like mine.”