Feb 10, 2012 has forever changed our lives. Joseph was 6 years old and in his fifth month of kindergarten.
Joe's journey actually began many months prior. Shortly after starting kindergarten there were ear infections, fevers, belly pain, joint swelling and bone pain. All this from a child who was always very healthy. Feb 10, 2012, the definitive diagnosis of pre-b cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was echoing through my head. Joe was admitted to the hospital immediately and taken to the pediatric hematology/oncology floor. Treatment was started almost instantly.
How does that happen? Why is this happening? I know how I was feeling, but how does a 6-year-old child who was never sick handle this? Joe has always been described as an old soul, deep thinker, incredibly loving and caring for others. He is just as comfortable having a conversation with an adult as he would with a child his age. He was more concerned for me than he was for himself. He had very few down days. He was always smiling, He's very intuitive and wanted to know what was happening and why. When he lost his hair, his comment was at least my head will be cooler (it was summertime). Joe took everything in stride. Joe was the one that gave me strength and courage.
His spirit was never broken, never wavered. He is an amazing little boy. I still don't understand, nor will I ever know why he went through what he did. But I do know he has and constantly still touches the lives of many. Joe is a hero to old and young. And because of the fundraising, researchers, dedication of many, he is here today.
When I was told treatment would be three years and two months, I though how are we going to do that, how is Joe going to do that? The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) was one of our lifelines. I utilized their support and education resources, I researched the strides that had been made in treatments. LLS gave me hope and confidence. LLS allowed me to see that I was making the best decisions for my son.
Shortly after Joseph started treatment, I had the option of enrolling him in the research side of treatment. I never questioned it, and said yes immediately. Recently I watched the mini series, "Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies" It was very heart wrenching to watch but was incredibly enlightening. Through dedication, fundraising and research we are now at a 90 percent survival rate. That number is not good enough for me and it shouldn't be for you either.
The medical community is ever so close to 100 percent. You can make that happen. I can make that happen. Joe is making that happen.
How do you measure your life?
It use to be all about numbers to me. Every second of every day filled with worry and uncertainty . As of April 12, 2015, that changed. Joseph completed treatment and is in full remission. He just celebrated 9 months post treatment. He also was the Light The Night Honored Hero for Greenville, SC 2015. We had a very successful fundraising campaign. I now measure with faith, love, hope, and thankfulness for people like you, people who are the reason why Joseph is next to me. The researchers are on the cusp of a cure. Joe will have a lifelong journey with leukemia. We welcome you in our life and family and hope you will join Joe on his journey. He has done his part of being in the research protocol. Now it your turn to do your part. Someday is today.