Round by round

Age at diagnosis: 3 years
Diagnosis: Ewing’s sarcoma of the brain
How Family Reach helped: Grant to cover bills for phone services and waste management services

Despite feelings of alarm, Mike and Janet Honig kept their composure after emergency room doctors delivered the news that their 3-year-old son, Jake, had a brain tumor. “I kind of called a time out and called the pediatrician whom we trusted very much. He said go to CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a partner hospital of Family Reach). I remember just walking in and they (CHOP team) were so relaxed about the situation. They see this every day. They just kind of put us at ease,” said Mike.

The next day, Jake awakened after a successful surgery to remove the tumor. “We’re grateful because the tumor was very close to the nerves. There was a lot that could have gone wrong from a side effect profile,” said Mike. However, the feelings of relief were short lived. Not long after, Jake was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma of the brain, 1 of only 4 reported cases in history. His doctors prescribed an intense and aggressive treatment regimen of chemotherapy rounds and radiation. Jake’s parents spent long hours and extended days at the hospital while family members cared for their 20-month-old daughter, Gianna, at home. As Mike remembers, “For Jake, having both of us there was just so important. It really made a big difference.”

During this time, Mike had to give up his second job as a DJ, placing the family in a position of financial strain. Family Reach provided relief by offering financial assistance to cover bills for phone services and waste management services. “When you are going through it, the number 1 priority is your child. I would let the bills pile up as high as I could before I would take any time away from being with Jake. The medical side is absolutely the number 1 priority! Any parent would agree with that. The relief that organizations like Family Reach provide is enormous! It kind of just keeps you going,” he said.

Jake’s parents were relieved when a post-treatment MRI showed no evidence of disease. They continue to be encouraged by their son’s good prognosis. By embracing the positives and taking things 1 step at a time during this difficult period, they were able to remain calm. As Mike says, “You have to break it down, round by round.”

Last update: July 31, 2014