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Don't let cancer end friendshipsWhen 2-year-old Caleb received radiation therapy at St. Jude for his brain tumor, he needed to stay stock-still, so every day before the procedure, he underwent sedation.
As Caleb woke back up, the hospital paged his parents to come to him. No matter how quickly they got there, however, his best friend Nicholas, then just 7 years old, always arrived first.
Caleb felt groggy and crabby when he came out of sedation, but Nicholas could always think of ways to make the younger boy feel better. He sometimes brought cookies for Caleb, or he'd help Caleb find the best toys in the hospital's toy chest. Nicholas knew how scary cancer treatment could be, and how important it was to have a friend. After all, he was a patient too.
Nicholas suffered from rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue tumor that can arise virtually anywhere in the body. Nicholas' cancer originated in his abdomen and wound around his organs. At St. Jude, he received radiation and chemotherapy.
The two families bonded. One day, they decided to leave the hospital and spend the afternoon together. It was the first time 8-year-old Nicholas had ever been to the zoo, and he loved it. At the restaurant afterward, Nicholas made silly faces and kept Caleb giggling.
The parents of Nicholas and Caleb treasure these happy memories, because in 2009, heartbreakingly, the two boys lost their fight against cancer. Nicholas passed away Jan. 21, 2009. Caleb's parents lost their son less than two months later on March 9.
The parents of Nicholas and Caleb say their faith keeps them strong. They believe that the older child, Nicholas, passed away first so he could get the lay of the land in Heaven. That way, when the younger child got there soon afterward, Nicholas could be there to meet him, and Caleb would not be scared.
They believe that their medical team at St. Jude loved the two boys as their own and that research into these deadly cancers must continue.
Honor the lives of children like Caleb and Nicholas by giving to those still fighting at St. Jude.