We have had to support each other through some of the most difficult times a person can go through

February 14, 2016
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We have had to support each other through some of the most difficult times a person can go through

We have had to support each other through some of the most difficult times a person can go through

“In June of 2006, our son Patrick was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer. He died on his ninth birthday, January 9, 2012.”

“Our son Brennan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on the night before 7th birthday. He had four bone marrow transplants and a relapse where everyone thought he was going to die and the doctors gave us no hope. We couldn’t accept that and had to fight through and learn how to ask the right questions. We just got the word that he is five years in remission.”

“Our stories don’t have the same endings. As partners through this, it is difficult to think one person has to tell one story and the other person has to tell another. I remember Stephen and I having drinks late one night and talking about funeral plans because it seemed inevitable for both of us.”

“Three of us have been friends for over 40 years, since we were kids in Augusta, and we have been friends with Erin since college. Our lives kept intersecting and we have had to support each other together through the most difficult times a person can go through. No one else understood what we were going through like they did.”

“It was like one of us was fighting on the Pacific front and the other was fighting on the European front at the same time.”

“Stephen was the one I called when Brennan relapsed. Even though Brennan survived, we all had PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Getting back into the real world is tough. Things don’t taste the same. Things don’t inspire you any more. I had to find a release in writing and music.”

“We counsel people who have lost children. I tell their friends to talk to this person about their child. Every day. My favorite times are when people tell me a memory of Patrick.”

“We have raised almost $5 million for children’s cancer research through Press On. Pressing on. It is how we have to live our life every day. Every morning we have to make the choice to live a life that Patrick would be proud of. Some days are still sad.”

“We give money for specific childhood cancer research purposes. We are encouraging doctors to share data and communicate. We are helping transform the sharing of data.”

“We had good access, but there was a lot we couldn’t do. Now we are helping families who don’t have the same contacts we had.”

“Despite the situations, the hospitals are some of the most joyful places you will find. We were both in hospitals for years. You have to mothball everything. We had to quit work and borrow from savings. It is like living in a submarine, it doesn’t matter where you are and home is irrelevant as long as you are all together.”

“The first reaction is to go through this with as little impact as possible, but the world is never normal again, so you have to let go of that. It also gives you the opportunity to live with a purpose. You can no longer pretend that death is not a part of life. You have to make peace with it.”

“I am so much more patient with people and more aware of what is going underneath the surface. You don’t know what people have been through or survived. So little really matters.”

“There is a lot of goodness in the world. People, even strangers, came out of the woodwork.”

“It seems strange, but I believe in God in a much more cellular level after Patrick died.”

“Before Patrick died, he hadn’t spoken in 2-3 days. He was in a coma and we talked to him a lot without expectations. He sat up and said ‘I am not afraid.’ How can we not believe if he had faith under those circumstances?”

“Patrick was asked in kindergarten what he wanted to do when he grew up and he said, ‘Heal people.’ Before he died we talked about being his healing hands on earth. Through Press On, he is healing hands for other children with cancer. Other kids with cancer will get better because he lived.”

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