This life changing moment began in 2017, shortly after Kyle’s fifth birthday. Kyle was experiencing pain in his arm and legs for no apparent reason and that was concerning. My wife noticed one of his testicles was bigger than the other and felt this was abnormal, and immediately called Kyle’s doctor to inform her of the situation. After a few tests, the doctor scheduled an immediate appointment at the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre. That day, we heard the news that was unthinkable. Kyle had a form of cancer called, “B-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma”, and because of the tumor’s location, it was rare for a child of that age. We were told an Orchiectomy would be done, the removal of his testicle infected with the cancer, and a biopsy would then be done while Kyle was in surgery. The second round of bad news arrived about three or four hours after surgery, which felt like an eternity. The biopsy revealed that the tumor was malignant. This double whammy intensified our pain like none other before. Tears profusely streamed our face. Our beautiful son was stricken with a horrible disease that may take his life. It was difficult for us to stay positive. The news was devastating, and negative thoughts flooded our minds. The greatest joy for parents is to witness a life being born. This was the greatest sadness we could ever hear.
Fast forward, we were told of the treatment plan that would take roughly two and a half years to complete. It involved intense chemotherapy (four to six different drugs) and a dozen or so blood and platelets transfusions. We wondered how his little body would endure the onslaught of toxic drugs. I recall Kyle lying in his hospital bed a day after surgery, and trying to keep my composure I said, “Kyle, a terrible disease has entered your body and the doctors are going to help you get rid of it. There will be things done to you, which I do not even know, that will make you feel weird and sometimes not well.” Looking into his eyes, I boldly exclaimed, “I need you to be brave and strong as best you can.” His deep brown eyes staring intensely at mine, his lips uttering, “I will dad.” That was the first time I had a positive vibe within me. Kyle was ready and courageous. Throughout this ordeal, we came to know many families who suffered alongside us. There were wonderful charities/organizations, who helped along the journey emotionally and financially – providing overnight lodging and whatever we needed to comfort our pain.
Kids Kicking Cancer was an organization who deeply helped us deal with our situation. Kyle has three siblings all under the age of ten, and they all wanted to participate to encourage their brother. Kids Kicking Cancer has helped Kyle overcome, in my view, the stigma and shame of being isolated and different. Through the different events Kids Kicking Cancer thoughtfully organized, we were able to attend most of them as a family. The family favorite was, Cowboys Kicking Cancer, in rural Michigan. The event took place on a beautiful farm donated by the owners especially for the program participants. Our kids never wanted to leave and keep asking when we are going back. They felt a sense of community by all who participated/dedicated their time, and more importantly, they felt love and acceptance. This is what these children need. The smiles on their faces, even when not feeling good, was evident in their eagerness to be around people who cared. My wife and I were captivated by meeting and interacting with others who felt a piece of their life was altered.
To no surprise, as I learned more about Kids Kicking Cancer and its founder Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, I learned that the organization was founded on his own personal story and the loss of his first child to Leukemia. We are from Canada, and Kids Kicking Cancer is all over the world. Their mission is to help children and their families overcome adversities and struggles they may incur. We are forever grateful for such organizations to exist. Their dedication and commitment are evident by their results – the children and families they support and empower. What more could you ask for?
Our deepest thanks, to *ALL* who have helped and continue to help every one of us with, “Power, Peace Purpose”. Today, Kyle has finished his treatments and has blood work done monthly to check for abnormalities. He feels well most of the time and involves himself wherever he can. He also continues to participate in virtual martial arts therapy classes, along with his siblings once a week. Kyle plays like an eight-year-old would.
We hope the worst is behind us and we rejoice cautiously with his presence. Life sometimes tests what matters most and inflicts the deepest hurt in our hearts, but thankfully with organizations like Kids Kicking Cancer, the pain becomes bearable.