Six-year-old Luke loves being outdoors, swimming and being in nature. It’s his happy place. But for a long year, when he was just 3 years old, he was in and out of the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.
In June 2017, just a few days before his 3rd birthday, he was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms tumor. A rare childhood cancer.
“When I heard the word cancer. I was immediately faced with the fact that my child could die,” Tessa, Luke’s mom said. “I remember being physically in pain.”
Tessa describes childhood cancer as being a part of a club no one ever wanted to join.
According to CureSearch, every year, the parents of approximately 15,300 kids in the U.S. will hear the words “your child has cancer.”
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is a time to acknowledge the thousands of children and their families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Like Luke, these kids spend countless hours in hospitals away from family, friends, and all the things that makes being a kid special.
This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Starlight is hosting the second annual Stream For Starlight - a month-long virtual campaign includes more than 100 content creators, who are raising funds and awareness to help Starlight deliver happiness to kids like Luke all across the nation.
Check out the calendar of events and tune in to watch a cooking, gaming, musical or dance stream!
“Hospitals are uncomfortable and hard to sleep in,” Tessa said. “Although our children’s hospital really did try and make it as good as it can be, it’s still so hard.”
Luke has been in remission for about two years now, and still goes in for checkups every three months.
“Something special about Luke is that whenever he recounts memories of his time, he only remembers the good times and it’s because of organizations like yours that brought him happiness,” Tessa said.
Tessa said as a mom with a child facing a chronic or terminal illness, you feel so isolated, and she’s thankful for organizations like Starlight.
“For there to be any kind of normalcy or happiness, it’s SO needed for you and the whole family,” Tessa said. “Whenever there was something special going on at the hospital, it made our entire day.”
We are so thankful that Luke is in remission. Tessa describes him as being resilient above all things. She’s in awe of his strength and so much he’s overcome.