CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - September 7th:
This clip of an email. Phew. It's written by a dad right this second living the a pediatric cancer reality with his 11-year-old son.
It ties directly to what you read yesterday about TJ Anderson, a Charlotte boy who died of liver cancer. TJ's dad, Travis, has understandably struggled with his son's death. It's Travis who sent me this email from the dad currently suffering.
In yesterday's post on TJ, I mentioned how Travis started a charity his son's memory. What I didn’t mention was that he almost shut it down this year.
Candidly, it’s just too hard.
“Who wants to live in the pain of pediatric cancer every day?” Travis Anderson asked. “We want to help others. We know we should help others. But it’s really, really hard to hear of other families starting a nightmare that we lived, and never fully woke from.”
His honesty is rare, and valuable. Thank you, Travis.
Ultimately, he and his wife decided not to shut the charity down, in part because of emails like this one from a dad Travis doesn't even know. He found the post through friends and all he knows is that the father wrote it from a hospital in Winston-Salem.
His words hit Travis to the core.
“I know everything he’s saying,” Travis said. “He’s in the thick of it like. We were there. I feel his pain through this post."
Knowing other dads feel hopeless is what spurred Travis to also say, "His words make me want to work on our Foundation more."
So, if you need more information on TJ's Team Foundation, feel free to check their FB page. As mentioned in yesterday's post on TJ (here >> http://tinyurl.com/Sept62019MKs), a golf tournament is set for next weekend to raise funds.
What follows is the full post from the dad. Raw and real. His words explain why we work hard to educate and make the word feel pediatric cancer.
Sorry I haven’t been answering my phone or messages. I’m not really up to talking much.
As most of you know by now, my son’s cancer is back. His last MRI shows at least 5 tumors. The largest one is in the right side of his brain. The rest are on his spine and they go all the way down. We don’t know exactly how fast they are growing but we know the last one was the fastest growing type (grade 3).
There’s no way I can put into words how it feels to hear your 11-year-old has months to live. I hope none of you ever experience the pain of losing a child that age to such a horrible disease. All our plans and dreams for the future are gone. Everything else seems so meaningless. I can see the hurt in my wife’s eyes as I try to console her but inside I am dying too.
Our other problems are overshadowed. We are focused on our son and making sure every precious moment we have left is spent wisely. Our financial situation is spiraling out-of-control. Our bills are snowballing as our income dwindles. Meanwhile, our son wants an iPhone and a Playstation controller. Our basic needs are starting to suffer and his brothers are wanting to stay at Grandma’s because her internet isn’t cut off. The DMV hates me and so does the Repo man. Our landlords have bent over backwards but we owe them thousands. Problems are coming from every direction yet we can only focus on our boy.
We want to make the best of the time we have left with him. As long as he is happy I would gladly give everything I have away. We know that God promised to meet our needs and we trust him. As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we are comforted by the smile on that little boy’s face. When the doctors told him he only had months to live, he responded "I can do anything with God". I pray that God gives my wife and me that kind of faith.
I love you all and I’m just not able to talk much. Please don’t waste your time with your family. Love them with everything you have. None of us are promised tomorrow. It could happen to any one of us. We will never get our time back. Don’t waste a second of your time with your loved ones."
If ever there is a lesson to share with others, this might be it.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.