Cancer is an a–hole. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t exist at all because it is so horrific to watch a person that you love both battle the disease and deal with the side effects of their treatment, which can include hair loss and extreme nausea.
Parents of kids who have cancer, in particular, have it rough – not as rough as the patient, but still rough.
Not only are you helpless watching the person you are supposed to help navigate this world suffer, but you also have to worry about the financial side of having cancer in America, along with caring for your child’s siblings.
And those siblings have it just as hard as you.
A sibling is watching the same thing you are. They are watching their brother or sister struggle with cancer and treatment, sometimes they might not understand what’s happening, and slowly they begin to lose their playmate in terms of energy.
Unfortunately, this part of childhood cancer isn’t talked about as much, which is what inspired Texas mom Kaitlin Burge to share a powerful image of childhood cancer.
One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family. You always hear about the…
The image, which was posted to the Facebook page Beckett Strong, is a black-and-white image of her son, 4-year-old Beckett who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects the white blood cells, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In the photo, Beckett is bald and wearing nothing but a diaper. He is leaning over the toilet during a bout of nausea. Standing behind him, with a hand on his back, is his older sister.
“One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family,” Burge wrote in the post. “My two kids, 15 months apart, went from playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together.”
Her daughter watched doctors treat Becket and “pump a dozen medications through his body,” according to the post. She wasn’t sure what or why this was happening, but she knew something was wrong with him.
“She watched him struggle to walk and struggle to play. The lively, energetic and outgoing little brother she once knew was now a quiet, sick and very sleepy little boy,” Burge added. ” She didn’t understand how he was able to walk before this, but now he can’t even stand unassisted. She didn’t understand the different therapies he had to attend to gain his strength back. To her, it was something special he got to do that she didn’t.”
But confusion isn’t the only thing Burge’s daughter has to handle.
“The siblings are forgotten about a lot of the time. They make a lot of sacrifices that people don’t realize,” she told CNN.
And, while reactions have of course been mixed at seeing such powerful photos, we commend her for bringing this struggle to light. Childhood cancer isn’t pretty for anyone, and images like this are important to garner awareness, start a conversation and get families more support.