Childhood cancer is frightening, painful and draining. Kaitlin Burge, a mother in Texas shared an unfiltered peek into how the disease impacted her family. Her 4-year-old son Beckett was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia over a year ago. She posted stirring photos of him leaning over a toilet, with his 5-year-old sister, Aubrey, standing guard.
She wrote, “Vomiting between play sessions. Waking up to throw up. Standing by her brother’s side and rubbing his back while he gets sick. This is childhood cancer. Take it or leave it.”
One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family. You always hear about the…
Burge elaborated that she took the photos in January, but they portray a “typical day in the life” for her son. Beckett needs to take a chemotherapy pill every night in addition to monthly chemo sessions at a clinic. All this chemo causes nausea.
Burge acknowledges how her children make sacrifices for their brother and her photos display the reality of childhood cancer and its implications across families.
She tells about sending her children to stay with their grandmother or her brother while Beckett’s in the hospital, “Our family’s been split up. We’re all tired. Your relationships are tried. You lose a lot of friends. You don’t get to go out and live the life you’ve been living prior to this.”
Focusing on Beckett’s health has also meant that she has lesser time for Aubrey and her 23-month-old daughter.
She admits, “The siblings are forgotten about a lot of the time. They make a lot of sacrifices that people don’t realize”.
Aubrey has even stayed by his side in the hospital and at home. Initially, she didn’t understand why her formerly playful younger brother slept all the time, couldn’t walk on his own or got to skip school, Burge described.
She told CNN, “She was so used to being the big sister. Her world flipped.”
Becket’s treatment should complete in August 2021 after more than three years.
Burge said that it feels like an eternity for her family with the process growing increasingly costly. When Beckett was first diagnosed, she felt like she was alone. A friend helped her set up a GoFundMe for Beckett’s medical expenses and parents of children with cancer have embraced her post showing her the community she didn’t always know was there for her.
Burges surmises, “Finding positive, I think, in the ugly, is a good outlook on life.”