My son Ben was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his second birthday. During his 15 months in treatment we spent more than 100 nights at Seattle Children’s.
I gave my all to helping Ben be a kid throughout his illness. That my son’s care team was focused on the same thing completely blew me away. Ben’s medical team always entered his world, whether he was playing with cars, reading or coloring. One day, a nurse heard music in his room, so she jumped in and joined the dance party Ben was having with his stuffed animals.
Ben wouldn’t have understood the word “cancer,” but it still took his life when he was only 3 years old.
Most of my memories of the second half of Ben’s life are attached to the hospital, and they are good ones. I miss Ben terribly, yet I still have incredible gratitude to Children’s. If Ben were alive today, we’d visit the fantastic people we met there and I’d take him back to the fish tanks to find Nemo, just like we used to do.
Ben’s diagnosis changed my life. Now I’m working to take cancer’s power away for other families. I never planned to do this. I’d rather be with my son. But if I can’t stand with Ben, I choose to stand with Dr. Michael Jensen and the team at Seattle Children’s Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research – brilliant scientists who are as dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer as I am.
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Published in Connection magazine, November 2013