September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, putting a spotlight on a disease that affects so many lives. Each day 43 families in the United States will receive the devastating news that their child has cancer.
Two years, the Lewis Family received new that rocked their world. Their son Thomas was diagnosed with a brain tumor just days after his 6th birthday.
“It was like the world had stopped,” said Amber Lewis, Thomas’ mother. “I remember driving home that evening on the 495. It was rush hour traffic and I couldn’t understand how everyone was going about their day because my day felt like it had ended and it was surreal.”
Thomas had complained about headaches. On March 28th, 2016, Amber and Derek Lewis took their son to the doctor where they found a large mass in his brain. Thomas was diagnosed with a desmoplastic round cell tumor. It’s a rare form of cancer that is usually found in the abdomen.
“On March 27th, 2016 I wasn’t a cancer parent,” said Amber Lewis. “I knew that kids got cancer. But my son was having headaches and we took him to the doctor and the next day I was suddenly a cancer parent.”
From there Thomas’ battle with cancer began.
“I had to go to the hospital,” said Thomas. “Sometimes I had to go for two days or three.”
After several rounds of chemotherapy and proton therapy, there was no evidence of the disease. And the Lewis family is holding on to every precious moment they can spend together.
“It’s still difficult to live and to think into the future but it’s getting easier every day,” said Amber Lewis. “At first you couldn’t think more than an hour ahead and now we can look ahead to the next year, maybe even beyond that.”
To help spread awareness, the Lewis family is going gold. They are participating in the Million Mile, a national challenge to walk, run or ride a million miles during the month of September hoping to help raise money to help other families and to help spread awareness that unfortunately, this could happen to anyone.
The Million Mile is the largest childhood cancer awareness challenge in the nation. The money raised helps fund researchers so they can find better treatments and more cures for kids battling cancer.