As children grow, they have moments when their unique personalities shine through. This is the case with Johnny, a 3-year-old little boy who loves to swim and play with water balloons. He’s happiest when singing or humming along to songs – twinkle twinkle little star being his favorite tune.
He wakes up every morning with a smile, ready to start the day with his parents and 7-year-old sister. You would never know Johnny was diagnosed with Stage IV high-risk neuroblastoma in September 2015 when he was only 6.5-months-old.
“We have been battling this disease for a solid two and a half years now,” says his mom Colleen. “Johnny has had over 30 rounds of chemotherapy and has been under anesthesia over 80 times. He’s had MIBG treatment, radiation and a stem cell transplant. He continues to fight every day.”
Adjusting to the “new normal”
His need for intensive care resulted in Colleen having to quit both of her full-time jobs and be by Johnny’s side, leaving dad John, a firefighter, as the family’s only source of income.
“The financial toll of cancer is awful,” says Colleen. “We’re your average family trying to make ends meet and I had to stop working. I remember our world was completely shattered within minutes of learning the diagnosis. We quickly realized that they “why us” phase was going to have to be very short if we were going to give Johnny every chance at living.”
Thanks to our generous Family Reach community, we were able to provide Johnny’s family with a grant to cover their mortgage payment. This gave the family a sense of security and normalcy that is needed when going through cancer treatment.
“We want to thank Family Reach from the bottom of our hearts for the love and support they have provided us in our time of need,” says Colleen.
After undergoing his first round of treatment, Johnny relapsed over a year later. Currently, he is undergoing a week worth of chemotherapy every month. The family continues to stay strong and care for Johnny, with the support of their loved ones behind them.
“We look at each day as a new day and we always look for light at the end of the tunnel,” says Colleen. “The tunnel isn’t always straight, but we hope the light will shine through and we will get to the other side.”
If you want to help families like Johnny’s get to the other side of cancer, you can donate here.