KidsRStrong2 is what I believe to be my life’s work, and it is a work that will forever be in progress.
There was a time when I had no clue of what my purpose in life was. Why had God sent me here? What was I suppose to accomplish, and how would I make a difference in this world? I have always believed that everyone is sent here for a reason, but I never truly knew what my reason was. That is until my oldest son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer called Pluropulmonary Blastoma (PPB), Type 3.
From the moment that I first saw Isaiah, I loved him more than anything in this world. He alone became my purpose, when I had none. Perhaps I was sent here to be his mother. That’s how my mind worked, because for so long I felt lost and unfulfilled. That is until God gave me Isaiah.
People always ask how we knew that something was wrong with Isaiah. Well here it is… It was Christmas 2009 and my son, who had just turned 3 in November, had been under the weather for a few weeks prior. During those few weeks something just didn’t seem right, and he looked as if he had pink eye in both eyes (FYI: cancer does weird things to your body). This was the worst Christmas ever because he was too sick to enjoy any part of it, and seemed very lethargic. He was also having severe the breathing issues, which in the past had been written off as asthma. Although his pediatrician never requested scans or X-rays to verify that it was actually asthma, we believed her because… well, she was a highly recommended physician, and both Isaiah’s father and aunt had a history of asthma. Yes, we were naïve. Anyhow… breathing problems continued on Christmas day until my father-in-law and husband insisted that we take Isaiah to the emergency room. The E.R. visit produced a diagnosis of a “REALLY BIG” round pneumonia. We only knew it was big because a persistent respiratory therapist, that we were blessed to have, told us that “something is not right” and suggested that we MAKE the doctor take an X-ray. We fought for the scans, even after being told that it wouldn’t matter if an X-ray was taken or not, because pneumonia is treated the same, whether it’s round or not. So even after the X-ray… the same diagnosis was given… round pneumonia.
I guess in our minds we didn’t think the diagnosis of pneumonia was out of the norm, because year after year Isaiah had been diagnosed with it. Well at least we thought that’s what he had been diagnosed with. That is until 2 weeks later, when the “REALLY BIG” round pneumonia burst. It was a tumor, and the life that we knew would be no more.
Throughout our battle with childhood cancer I regularly questioned why my Isaiah had to suffer through this battle. After visiting and living in the hospital for so long, it became apparent that we weren’t the only ones. The battle for life and normalcy, just so happened to be the norm for far too many children.
I never understood, and still don’t understand why anyone… especially children should have to endure such pain. My goal was to make sure that my son’s battle would not be in vain. Through much pain, tears and prayer, God made my “why” clear… to serve others, and help families during the most difficult times in their lives.
After researching and being on the receiving end, I came to the realization that there just isn’t enough support for children with life-threatening illnesses. Research funds tend to be limited and mostly poured into adults, while children are dying daily. My goal is to spread awareness and make the public understand that kids are strong too. They are our future and we must be their biggest advocates. Without us how will they survive?
With that, KidsRStrong2 was born.
For additional information on PleuroPulmonary Blastoma visit www.ppbregistry.org.