CLOVER, SC (WBTV) - Wesley Gilland was 5 years old living in Clover, SC when he died from Medduloblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer usually found in children.
His aunt Brandy sent a sincere email, full of heart.
"Wesley WAS our super hero"…
"He WAS so brave"…
"His time on earth WAS so short"…
She ended the note saying "was" IS one of her most hated words.
Wesley's journey started like many -- undetected and sudden. In 2012, he and his brothers all had flu-like symptoms leading up to Christmas. While his brothers got better, Wesley got worse. His pediatrician diagnosed him with acid reflux.
"I will never forget how sick he looked Christmas Day and how he didn't even want to open gifts, odd for a 4-year-old," Brandy said.
Wesley's mom took him to Levine Children's Hospital. A CT scan revealed a mass at the base of Wesley's brain. It was removed New Year's Eve, days later diagnosed as brain cancer.
"We had never dealt with anything of this magnitude in our family," said Brandy. "We knew his little body had a giant fight ahead."
Wesley had chemo, a tracheotomy and feeding tube. After that first trip to the hospital, he was never able to talk again. He battled tough, sometimes Brandy said going into remission (or getting the cancer cut out), but it always came back.
In December 2013 it returned with a vengeance.
Doctors said they couldn't remove it. They told the family it would be a waiting game.
"The wait only lasted eight days."
On January 4, 2014, Wesley got his angel wings.
"He WAS my entire family's precious gift," Brandy wrote. "He WAS more precious than any words I can find."
I want to point out - though Brandy's painful email had many past-tense references, she also wrote about the present and future.
"He is dancing above right now," she said. "He's jumping, playing, running and doing everything the ugly disease took from him here. Someday we'll all be there with him."
We're on Day Three of Pediatric Cancer Awareness (ACTION?) Month. Let any one of the #MollysKids stories you read here spur you into action. That can mean sharing this post. It can mean giving time, money or heart to help fund research and find a cure.
"Writing this email to you about our sweet super hero has been difficult," Brandy said. "But I want to share his story. Not just for our family, but for him. He fought harder than adults ten times his age. He was bigger than any of us could've dreamed."
Wesley Gilland. 10/22/2008-1/4/2014.