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Our Families

The Hewitts

During the beginning of Kailyn’s cancer journey in 2013 things were different. Upon entering the hospital, you were always greeted with a smile and a hello. There was always something to do or someone to talk to while they waited for yet another appointment. There were all types of activities, games, movies, treats and performances by clowns, music, massages for the moms, just so many things to keep their minds off of the fact that their 5-year-old little girl had a very scary brain tumor called Anaplastic Ependymoma.

This past February, 7 years after her original diagnosis, a new tumor was discovered. Not only that but during a planning MRI for surgery, they found an additional tumor, this one is inoperable. Kailyn is now 4 weeks into treatment with another 35 rounds of radiation, hoping that radiation will destroy not only any residual cells but also this new growth. This time, because of the virus, when they enter the hospital they are immediately shuffled to a line on the floor 6 feet from the person in front of them. At the reception desk they are given new face masks and squirts of sanitizer, then head straight to treatment through almost empty, silent hallways. There is no one to talk to or compare stories now as they wait. No Child Life specialists to make them smile. No one to comfort them or put their arms around them or hand them a tissue. ALONE, ISOLATED, AFRAID, EXHAUSTED are only a few words Kailyn’s mom used to describe how this pandemic has made everything so much worse for cancer patients and their families.

Through everything Kailyn has grown to be an amazing young lady with her own unique quirks. Her mom Alison knows what her daughter is facing and told us, “I am broken everyday wondering to myself just how far this disease is going to go. How much of her life it is going to take away, and when and if it does, have I done enough to fight it?”

This is our last plea for #givingtuesdaynow. We need funds to help provide grants to Kailyn’s family and several others that are going through treatment during this time of isolation. It’s so simple to give $5 or $10 through Facebook. You can also donate on our website or through the Paypal Giving Fund.

The Neal Family

We are a family of six. Jason and I (Shawnalee) have been married for 9 years and are the parents of 4 wonderful kids. Jordan (17), Cameron whom would be 15, Jason Jr (7), and Tiara (4). In april of 2010 our lives forever changed. Cameron was diagnosed with Anaplastic Ependymoma. Cameron was such a happy, vibrant and strong kid. There was no way he couldn’t beat brain cancer…. right? Cameron fought for 5 years, fighting through 5 brain surgeries, two 6 week stays for radiation, every chemo known to man, and approved and trial meds. In November 2014 his doctors gave us the worst news any child or parent could ever receive.

There was no more treatment. No other options. They told us our precious baby boy only had 3 to 6 months to live. They was wrong! Our big man fought almost another year. Cameron gained his Angel wings on his baby sister’s 4th birthday (9/14/15). He was comforted in our home by us and his oldest brother Jordan. This day changed our lives forever.

Since Cameron passed we don’t talk to people. It seems like no one understands. We go to work and come straight home to snuggle with our babies. Even our oldest son. He goes to school, lacrosse and work. It feels like we haven’t had any time to process Cameron’s loss. Tiara always has questions though. She greatly misses her Cammy Bear! “Mommy I miss Cammy,” “Why does Cammy have to be dead mom?” “If we go visit him….. will he really be there? I just wanna hug and kiss him mommy!” These are the daily questions of a 4 year old. How do you answer some of these? Jason Jr has completely disconnected. He never talks about Cam at all. If he hears Tiara crying he simply and quietly tells her, “I miss Cammy too sissy.”

This has been so hard for our family! We want to attend this retreat in hopes of meeting people who really understand what we go through as well to gain coping skills.

Thank you for taking your time to get to know our family a little.

Jason & Shawnalee Neal