A photo of a 4-year-old boy named Beckett and his sister Aubrey went viral this week, and touched the hearts of millions. It’s also raising awareness about a really important issue — how cancer affects the entire family. Beckett is currently battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The picture shows him hunched over in the bathroom, with his big sister by his side comforting him.
After the children’s mother, Kaitlyn Burge, posted the photo to Facebook — it quickly went viral. Friends and strangers came out by the thousands to wish Beckett a speedy recovery. The post was shared more than 36,000 times. Burge shared a really important message along with the photo — explaining that this shows the reality of what it’s really like for kids battling cancer.Read More
“One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family,” Burge wrote. “You always hear about the financial and medical struggles, but how often do you hear about the struggles families with other children face? To some, this may be hard to see and read. My two kids, 15 months apart, went from playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together. My then 4-year-old watched her brother go from ambulance to the ICU. She watched a dozen doctors throw a mask over his face, poke and prod him with needles, pump a dozen medications through his body, all while he laid there helplessly. She wasn’t sure what was happening. All she knew was that something was wrong with her brother, her best friend.”
Burge went on to say that Aubrey, who is now 5, has taken on something of a caregiver role for her little brother. She makes sure to always stick by his side as he deals with the side effects of cancer treatment. She still plays with him, she rubs his back if he has to get sick in the bathroom — and Burge said the two children are all the more closer for it. It’s a sweet story, but it’s also a heartbreaking one.
Beckett was first diagnosed in April 2018 — and he is scheduled to undergo his final treatment in August of 2021. On a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for Beckett’s treatment, Burge wrote about how Aubrey and Beckett’s other sister — who is just a baby — have had to learn to adjust to a life that revolves so much around little Beckett’s treatments.
“His sisters have endured a lot of change and adjustment. Big sister, Aubrey, has stood by his side through it all while little sister, Chandler, has had to learn to adjust to having her big brother and her protector gone for extensive periods,” Burge wrote.
What is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a rare cancer, with less than 200,000 cases being diagnosed in the U.S. every year. However, it is the most common type of childhood cancer. It occurs when the bone marrow makes too much of a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. There are several different approaches to treating the disease, and the treatment plan will depend on the type of ALL the child has. Chemotherapy, radiation, chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant, and targeted therapy are all considered standard treatment, according to the American Cancer Society.