STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Besides having a perfect look of 7-year-old mischievousness, this first grader is the “funniest, most charming, wittiest, sweetest, kindest boy you’ll ever meet.” Just ask his mom.
Brittany Goforth says her son, Palmer, is special in a way that’s hard to describe. She knows she sounds biased, but everyone who meets him says the same thing. Palmer plays soccer, loves all things Lego, is fascinated by wolves, watches Duke Men’s basketball and Kansas City Chiefs football, and his best friend is his older 9-year-old brother, Cameron. They’re inseparable.
Palmer goes to American Renaissance School in Statesville. Both Brittany and her husband Parley were raised in Statesville, and still call it home.
Neither of them saw Palmer’s diagnosis coming.
Three weeks ago, he was diagnosed with Stage III Burkitts lymphoma.
Brittany can recount the days around the diagnosis on autopilot. She says it started on a Thursday. Palmer had a “stomach bug.” By Saturday he was “fine.” He spent all day playing soccer. Sunday he woke up in excruciating pain, vomiting, and couldn’t even stand up.
“We thought for sure appendicitis,” Brittany said. “We went to the ER in Huntersville where they confirmed it and we were transferred to Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital in Charlotte that afternoon for surgery. Palmer looked better when we got there, so much so the surgeon wanted to look at the ultrasound again. That’s when the surgeon found it. He kept saying, ‘A lot of abnormal lymph nodes.’”
It was so whirlwind, Brittany said, her husband wasn’t even there yet.
“I was alone in a darkened surgical waiting room on a Sunday evening,” she said. “I AM A NURSE. I knew what he was saying to me. But I’m also a mom and all I could think was, ‘Not my kid. Not my kid. He’s fine. It’s appendicitis. That’s it. Not my kid. End of story. It’s easy to fix. Not my kid.’ Then my husband showed up and the surgeon came back. He looked at us and said, ‘It appears to be consistent with malignancy. I am so sorry.’”
Brittany said after that it was a blur. The chaplain showed up. Then an oncologist call. They were told Palmer had to stay in the hospital. The world was spinning out of control. Brittany could only think one thing:
“I need my baby.”
After that, treatments began. Lots of testing and imaging and procedures. Palmer went through two cycles of chemo pretty immediately because Burkitts is not a cancer where you can wait for answers. Brittany said the hospital stay was rough but… there’s good news… as you read this… Palmer is home. He got to go home this past Monday, after 15 days in the hospital.
“He’s still in some pain, dealing with nausea, poor appetite, and tired,” she said. “But we will get to spend Christmas together. We are grateful. Like so many people we’ll miss traditions and seeing our family – but I’ve said it probably 100 times this week, I am okay with all of that if it means we get our Palmer for all the Christmases to come.”
There is something about this boy and his look that is impacting everyone who knows him and hears his story. I’m putting a few more photos below in comments as well.
“I have to say that God has had his hand on us the whole time,” Brittany said. “I’ve often prayed for that peace that surpasses all understanding. Through this I have felt it. Overwhelming peace is just in us. Even in the midst of heartbreak and tears, I know Palmer is okay. The treatments will be hard and there will be hills and valleys, but I know he is building his testimony and this journey will change his life and our lives. And probably other people’s lives too. Our circle of family and friends is tight. I’d NEVER choose this path, but there is a purpose and we’re in good hands with our oncology team.”
Peace that surpasses all understanding.
Let those words weigh on you.
Welcome to #MollysKids, Palmer. You are loved. Many more good thoughts are coming your way right this minute as people read your mom’s beautiful thought about “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
Enjoy being home. Merry Christmas Eve.