Maureen is a parent whose child was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. The diagnosis was unexpected. Her son, Thomas, had been healthy his whole life, active, and playing sports. She went to the doctor with him for what seemed to be an injury from football practice. Maureen was devastated knowing her 15-year-old, previously healthy, child has cancer. She broke down and immediately called her husband Dan to tell him the shocking news.
The most difficult experience for Maureen was the unknown. She was living day by day. She didn’t think ahead to summer plans, let alone weekend plans. Suddenly, her child, well and thriving, now spent countless days at the hospital, with no idea of what the day ahead would bring. Fortunately, her and her family received tremendous support from her family and community. In fact, Thomas was one of the recipients of the 2018 South High Marathon Dance, a charitable event held every March in South Glens Falls High School in New York. Maureen and her husband, Dan, took turns staying at the hospital with Thomas and the other parent stayed home with their daughter, Meagan. It was a tough time for everyone, but they persevered and made it through the more difficult times together.
Maureen advises other parents who are going through a similar situation to “offer comfort, prayer and compassion. Focus on the positive. I know it’s hard, your child is hurting, but encourage them and they can kick cancer’s ass.” Going through this experience, Maureen has learned to appreciate everyday more than before. She says, “I don’t take anything for granted anymore. We’re blessed with each day and we must make the most of it. You don’t know what people are going through, be more empathetic, sympathetic and kind.” She has a deeper understanding of these lessons now.
Maureen and her son, Thomas, are doing well. She says Thomas is back to his normal self, being a typical teenager and teasing his sister Meagan. He just got his permit and is driving. They go to the doctor every 3 months to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. She gets nervous each time, worried that the osteosarcoma has come back. Thankfully, it hasn’t.
Interview by Zohal Jelani
Register now for the 2019 Sarcoma Strong 5k. UAlbany campus, August 17th 9am.