Most people, who know me, know that I hold the United States Marine Corps close to my heart. My Dad retired from the Marines and my husband was also a Marine. So when a dear friend of mine told me about a military family whose son was diagnosed with Leukemia, I immediately contacted them. Angela (the mother) allowed me to share Austin’s story in hopes to spread awareness. Here’s his story:
“With Austin, I started noticing signs that something wasn't quite right the last week of June, but thought that he was just fighting a virus. I gave him a few days before I called his pediatrician for the first time. I took him in and she felt the same way. I waited a week before calling again... took him in with a couple more symptoms that were not normal for my son. This pattern continued for 5 weeks!!
Finally, on the 5th week, and a laundry list of symptoms later...his pediatrician drew labs. Not even 2 hours later we received a phone call saying that they have a room waiting for him at New Hanover, and we need to get there as quickly as possible. The all too familiar feelings of the unknown came flooding back. (you literally feel like someone else is moving your body for you...your mind racing in a million different directions) Despair...anxiety...I don't even know. We threw some things in a bag and back to the hospital we went.
That night, they drew labs for more tests and current results. He was such a trooper!!! The next morning, they asked if we wanted to be transferred to Duke or UNC. Well, because of Alexandra, we are more of a Duke family. We would like to keep everything in once hospital, if possible. (New Hanover Regional Med Ctr is great to work with. The entire team is amazing!)Once again at Duke...this time for our son, Austin. We are placed in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology wing. We are thankful to be here because at least we know our surroundings. We met with most of the people who would be on Austin's diagnostic team. They did more labs, tests, transfusions, a bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture. Thursday was a LONG day because we were waiting around for results...Thursday night around 10:30 Dr. Patel came in and told us Austin has Leukemia. It felt like our world shattered into a million pieces once again. Tears streaming uncontrollably down our faces, no matter how hard we tried to hold them back. We want to be strong for our "little dude", he deserves that much. Even after everything he had been through that day...when he saw me crying, a look of concern came over his face, he put his hands on my face to pull me closer, wiped the tears from my cheeks and told me everything would be okay. He is sooooo AMAZING and STRONG!”
Yesterday, Austin received 3 rounds of chemotherapy and handled it like a champ!!I have chosen Austin as my personal honored teammate!!
I know I’ve said it before…cancer does not discriminate. It breaks my heart into a thousand pieces when I read or hear that a child has been diagnosed with cancer. I always think of my babies and how I cannot protect them from everything.
Hopefully by sharing Austin's story, I can help spread blood cancer awareness.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to my fundraising page and together we can hopefully find a cure for blood cancers!!