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Health / Special Needs

A Scary Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

A Scary Diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

We all have a yearning and desire to take care of the ones we love, especially the young, vulnerable and defenseless. Yet, there are many times when fate steps in and destiny is out of our control. For me, this was one of those times.

My 6-year-old brother Simon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Born with Downs Syndrome, Simon has suffered from many health issues including weak lungs that make him susceptible to pneumonia and bronchitis, a recurring condition he continues to fight.

But all the previous trips to the hospital never prepared our family to deal with a cancer diagnosis. In all honesty though, I don’t think all the knowledge in the world could have created preparedness during such an emotionally turbulent time.

For a young child to endure such hardships seems unfair, and I would trade spots with him in an instant if possible. Yet I have quickly come to the realization that life isn’t always fair.  However, if we have loved ones around us, they can help carry the burden and shoulder the pain, and that is my job.

The title of “Big Sister,”(and I am a big sister, with a 16-year age difference!) is not something that I take lightly. For me, it means that I am a protector, a consoler and a friend.

If all I can do is lighten his heart and lift his spirits that is exactly what I will do. But so far the little guy has been pretty tough on his own, despite the central line in his chest, the pokes and prods of needles and the endless doses of cancer-fighting medicines.

There are so many lessons to be learned from the resilience of children, and Simon is teaching me to be patient and loving. His outlook on life remains positive, and he lives each day to the fullest, something we should all aspire too.

Simon was our families little blessing. By coming into this world, he united our family and friends and brought an immense amount of love into the world.

It’s amazing how such a small child can have such an impact on the world.  Lessons in giving, gratitude and respect come naturally to him, and he shares his outlook with everyone who encounters him, although often times unwittingly. Even though Simon is battling cancer, he continues to find joy in the little things, especially when he gets a Popsicle.

Each day I look forward to seeing my brother, and I treasure the moment when I walk into the room and see his big-smile calling out “sissy!!”

And so as we embark on a new year, it’s my plea for you to remember to be grateful for your children’s health. This is a battle we’ll be fighting together.

-Nicole Hamilton

(republished from our archives)

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. I’m so sorry. 🙁 You’re right–it just doesn’t seem fair given that he has been in and out of hospitals his entire life and now this. But you’re also correct in that his attitude has a lot to teach those around him. What a shining example he is and prayers for his recovery.

  2. There are a lot of inspiring blogs out there of moms who are finding their therapy of coping with a scary diagnosis by writing about it. One of my favorites:

    No one likes to hear about stories like this. 🙁

    • Thank you for the link. What a great post!

  3. HUGS to you…I don’t know you, but my son was diagnosed with ALL as well, at age 6, WORST TIME OF MY LIFE…but the great news is he is now 17, happy, healthy and CURED! BLESSINGS!! Feel free to email me at any time…I will welcome it.
    Take care,

  4. I am so glad to hear that your son is doing well! Thank you for your support!

  5. Hi, I’m Joe with Colorado HealthStory. I loved hearing this amazing story about Simon, what a fighter and role-model (even at his tender age)–it’s so important to share these stories and getting people talking. I’m sure a ton of people can relate to your plight…my nephew has Downs and brings so much light into our lives even as he battles with various health issues. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story, and I look forward to seeing more stories from Mile High Mamas in the future!

    • You are right, sharing these stories is very important. Thank you Joe and I wish the best for your family!

  6. What a touching post – thanks Nicole, you’ve got such a wonderfully positive attitude — Simon is blessed to have a sister like you! In my busy life, I tend to forget how precious life is… Thanks to Simon for that reminder, and also for his courage to live each day to its fullest.

    • Thank you Rita. I really appreciate the kind words.

  7. Hi, thank you so much for posting this. My best friend’s baby cousin has ALL, & i learned about it for a project we are currently doing together. Let me know if you could get ahold of me in the next couple days & share some information about your brother’s fight and other things about ALL. thank you! god bless!

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