September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 13, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Robbie Moore. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Robbie’s fundraising page.
“Your child has cancer.” Four words that parents never want to hear. The four words that will impact your life and the life of those around you forever. And yet, those four words, as much as you hate them, would not be the worst you would ever hear. Imagine the heartache of hearing your child sobbing and repeating, “I don’t want to die.” When you are in complete shock, how do you comfort them? What do you say? What do you do?
Our son, Robert “Robbie” Moore, was diagnosed with a tumor in the brain stem at age 15. He was experiencing some symptoms that I was downplaying as a virus, vertigo or the need for eye glasses. After all, he was a child that was rarely, if ever, sick. The only visits we ever had to the doctor were for swimmers ear. In the hot Georgia summers, he loved to play in the pool with his brother and cousins. You always knew he was having a grand time because you could hear his laughter a block away.
Robbie was a sweet loving child who took great interest in racing go karts. Six months before his diagnosis, he had managed to save enough money to purchase his first kart and every spare minute of his time was spent working on his new hobby. We had never seen him have such a passion about anything. And we had never seen anyone have such heartbreak and disappointment at the fact that his passion would end before it ever got started.
Treatment options are not very effective for Glioblastoma Multiforme. Robbie had a grade four astrocytoma that was located in the pontine area of his brain. This is a place that is so sensitive that biopsies were rarely performed and removal was impossible. Our neurosurgeon was confident that he could biopsy the tumor and send a sample off to pathology so we could know exactly what we were dealing with and the best possible treatment option.
Little did we know, successful treatment options were very few and our hopes would be in a clinical trial. One of the hardest decisions to make is one where no matter what you choose, the odds are still stacked against you. And then you realize, a lot of information that was available to help you make your decision was based on adult trials.
After Robbie had his biopsy, his life changed completely. He went from attending school with his friends, to having teachers come to our home when he was not feeling well enough to complete his school work. He went from being able to walk, run and race to using a walker and then a wheelchair. He had lost his independence and ability to live the lifestyle that healthy teenagers should live.
His days were spent at home with family and many friends visiting him. The clinical trial was not successful and shortly after he was withdrawn, he began to experience paralysis on the right side of his body. By his 16th birthday, he was unable to walk. Yet, his spirits were still high and he never complained or gave up the fight.
Several different chemotherapy drugs were used to try to control the beast that was robbing our precious child of his livelihood and his life. With every new drug that was tried, we had high hopes of this being the MIRACLE drug that would cure our son. After all, he still had so much living left to do.
The drugs were often hard on his body and caused swelling, weight gain, skin breakdown, nausea, hair loss and rashes. There were many trips to the doctor and several to the hospital for overnight stays for rehydration. There were additional treatments for blood clots and home visits for physical therapy.
Two days before Thanksgiving, we got the results from an MRI that showed the chemo was no longer effective, the tumor had grown and there were no more options available to him. “We’re sorry, there is nothing more we can offer.” That ranks right up there with, “Your child has cancer.” And causes as much heartache as when your child sobs, “I don’t want to die.”
Robbie, our precious teenage son, a handsome young man with brown hair, beautiful hazel eyes and a heart of gold touched the lives of many, young and old. He was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, uncle and friend who brought joy to others. He fought a courageous battle with a beast that medicine couldn’t cure. We cried, we laughed, we prayed, we talked… and yet all of that time we spent together was never enough. Never enough for those of us who loved him dearly and would give anything to have just one more day with him.
After a 13 month battle, Robbie crossed the finish line taking the checkered flag as he raced his way into heaven. He will live forever in our hearts.
While on this journey, we have met or read of many other children battling cancer. It is our wish that one day, no other parent who has a child with cancer would ever have to hear the words, “We’re sorry, this is nothing more we can offer.” We are happy to be teamed up with CURE to raise funds to find a cure for childhood cancer.