By Patricia Tallungan, Founder, Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation
The whole thing is rather surreal. Neuroblastoma. You never in a million years think it is going to happen to your child, your family. It’s something that happens to “other” families. But when neuroblastoma strikes, it changes you forever. In 1995, our son Nick was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. From that day on, none of us were ever the same again.
It is devastating to see what these children go through. Nick actually did well through treatment compared to other children I know. But that is a relative statement. He suffered through losing his hair, nausea, ongoing bouts of vomiting and weight loss. Still we remained hopeful.
In 1996, Nick relapsed. While we held on to hope with defiant tenacity, we knew what this meant .... Nick was likely going to die. Treatment options for relapse were very limited at this time. At initial diagnosis, you feel you have a fighting chance against this disease. That’s not always the case in relapse. We prayed every day to God to help cure him, but that day never came.
When Nick relapsed, our options for treatment were limited. When Nick died at the age of 10, he weighed less than 40 pounds. It breaks your heart to see what the cancer does to their little bodies.
Nick was such a fighter. He had a heart of gold. Even after all these years, the reality that I never saw him grow up and will never see him reach life’s many milestones remains devastating. He would have been 21 on the 28th of March. He was a holy terror and I miss him so much.
The children need our help. I believe it is up to us to make their journey a little easier and we can only succeed with the support of the community around us. Donate today and make hope – and a long, healthy life -- a reality for these “Heroes” tomorrow. We hope you’ll share your stories and photos with us, so we can continue to celebrate their incredible spirit and strength.