National Kids Cancer Ride

Day 12 Hamilton to Kingston

Never underestimate the power & influence of the human spirit…..anyone can make change- we all have it in us but the power of many can go a long way. I have joined in this fight against kids cancer with a passion because I have seen shit that I don’t want you to see. I wear these bracelets with honour…they drive me daily. These bracelets are for the children no longer with us. James, Nick, Rebecca, Briony, Simon & the thousands of children that are still dying. I can’t forget their faces.
I also wear them for the 10,000 other children still undergoing treatment & also for those that have survived.

Today we went to Hamilton’s McMaster Children’s Hospital. I met a young teen there who spoke so eloquently to us. He told us about what he went through & how it impacted his social & family life….he wore visible scars. He was not afraid to face the crowd of people that had gathered (even though he had never spoken to a crowd before). I was so happy that he was a survivor….I just pray that he does not get a secondary cancer (like so many children do as a result of their horrible treatments.)

Yes the treatments suck big time… You hate the treatments but you love the results when they work. Unfortunately they don’t always work though, so some kids get a really shitty ride- that is the hardest part. When my son was in treatment for his Leukemia, I was totally shocked at the depths & types of treatments he had to endure. They were brutal. I never want to see a child go through that again. It was horrific to me to see & watch him have to go through it. His body was ransacked by both the cancer & the treatments. The chemicals that were poured into his body in hopes of eradicating the cancer took such a toll on him. Constant barfing, tons of side effects (pancreatitis, pneumonia, skin rashes, major weight loss & feeding tubes up his nose, hair loss)….oh did I mention permanent heart loss function? These examples only skim the top of what these kids endure. They lose their childhood to the treatments. It is just not right. And in the end, they don’t all make it. My son endured 11 months of treatments & then he died. How sad is that? He was a young teenager (15 going on 16) & he was just on the verge of coming into his own. He wanted to learn to drive but instead he lost the ability to walk normally. He wanted to spend time with his buddies talking about girls, but instead he ended missing his first year of high school & became bald with feeding tubes up his nose. He spent his 16th birthday in the hospital. He spent Thanksgiving there & then Christmas. New Years Eve he was still there & that was when we were told he was going to die. So even New Years did not have any good resolutions for him. Instead, he planned out his last days. He made a bucket list that he would never live to do. He wanted to swim again & he wanted to try whiskey. He wanted to see all his friends again in one room to say goodbye.  That was the only thing he managed to get to do. Once we got him home (where he wanted to be to die), we gathered his friends together in his bedroom & they all sat & spent time with him. I would not call it quality time, but it was time none-the-less.  His last wish (which was supposed to be his children’s wish) was to have his Uncle, Aunt & youngest nephew to come & be with him for his last days….he was totally selfless. As he was losing his ability to speak in his last days, he motioned for all of us (father, mother, brother & sister) to come close & he nodded to each of us in turn asking through his eyes to know if we would all be ok once he was gone. It was a hard moment but we had to acknowledge to him that we would be ok.  Again, how selfless. The young teaching the old yet once again…..

September is childhood cancer awareness month….I hope I have just made you all aware of why we so badly need to make change.