August of 2015, I was hired as nurse at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I was beyond ecstatic to start my forever career there, and to fulfill my lifetime dream of being employed at the greatest hospital in the world! I was ready to take St. Jude's mission head on by caring for patients and families that have been effected by catastrophic diseases. Little did I know, my family and our lives were about to be changed forever.
A few weeks after I started, Jaxon, my now 6 year old son, started complaining of back pain. This was intermittent at first and then progressively got more frequent. We went to the doctor several times with no answers and no immediate concerns. Starting in September, a fever was accompanying the pain. We did countless sets of blood work but nothing was ever of urgency. I decided to bring Jaxon to Lebonheur October 9, 2015 because the fever was progressive, scary, and starting to have a few additional symptoms that exacerbated dehydration. We did an MRI which all physicians declared normal with the exception of 4 thoracic fractures on the spine. None of which were any definitive answers for us because the fractures were not causing fever and abnormal blood counts. None the less, we were discharged with no findings, and certainly no fear of cancer. Jaxon was great for the next few weeks with no complaints, and I swear I thought we'd made it through the storm and we're seeing the light. Then, Jaxon hit rock bottom. He had extremely high fevers and was just not himself. I took him back again to the ER as a direct admit after I called and told the pediatrician what his temperatures were. We, yet again, started the bloodwork, scans, and consults.
It was early, quiet, and uneventful on the morning of October 22, 2015, as we sat in the inpatient room waiting on what I thought were answers we'd never find. A doctor walked in and introduced himself as a fellow from my other home, my work, the place I never wanted associated with my own children. He explained that Jaxon's MRI was not normal, and that his counts and blood smear were suspicious for malignancy. He immediately said we were transferring to St. Jude and expressed to us the whirlwind we were about to experience. Even though he could not confirm cancer, I could see it in his face. I could feel it in my bones. My heart had never felt such a burden.
We arrived at St. Jude October 22, 2015 at 8:15 pm. From that point forward, it has been the biggest tornado that we're walking in. We immediately did scans, bloodwork, saw physicians, and it was all happening fast. We were scheduled for a bone marrow aspiration to take place the next day. After the initial scare of where I was, we still had no diagnosis and we were just ruling out cancer.
October 23, 2015. This date is officially the worst day of my life. A physician stood before me and told me that my 5 year old baby had cancer. His diagnosis is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Our hearts crumbled, my gut twisted out of control, and the amount of emotion was unmeasurable.
Fast forward to present time, we have 58 weeks of treatment remaining. We have had many scares, numerous complications, and countless setbacks, but we are moving toward the light at the end of the tunnel. We pray that light is Jaxon's forever cure! The amount of gratitude my family feels for St. Jude could never be put into words. They saved my son's life, and are still doing it every day! We have never been charged for his medical care, and what a blessing that is. I can't imagine the added stress if I had to worry about how we would be able to afford for my son to live. My love for St. Jude runs so deep! I'm still employed, and surrounded with the greatest support that even money can't buy!
This is all why I've decided to run again this year in honor of my son, and in thanks to St. Jude. I want to raise as much money as possible so they can continue to orchestrate and implement the best, life saving care to patients and families around the world! Will you please join me in saying thank you to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for allowing my son to live in the dawn of his life?
I'm dedicated to using my running to make an impact. As I train for my race, I'm raising funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Thanks to donors like you:
- Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
- Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer.
Thank you for donating and helping me reach my goal for the kids of St. Jude!