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Aaron was found to suffer from medulloblastoma in August 2012.
News of a child’s cancer diagnosis delivers a disorienting blow to a parent. When Aaron’s father learned his son had cancer, he was literally at sea.
A lieutenant commander in the United States Navy, Aaron’s dad was stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf when his wife sent him an urgent email to call home. An MRI after a fall had revealed their 4-year-old son — one of seven children in the family — suffered from an aggressive brain tumor known as medulloblastoma.
“I thought that can’t be right,” says Aaron’s father. “That doesn’t make sense.”
Despite being thousands of miles away from home, Aaron’s dad was able to get back to the States within 40 hours of learning Aaron’s diagnosis. By that time, Aaron had already undergone surgery in a local hospital to remove the brain tumor.
“When I was deployed six months before, Aaron was a little boy full of energy,” remembers his dad. “When I got back, he was hooked up to all these tubes. His face was swollen. He couldn’t see. He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t walk.”
But when Aaron heard his father’s voice, he opened his eyes.
Aaron’s mom had already researched his diagnosis and found out about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for the most aggressive childhood cancers.
Within weeks, Aaron and his family were at St. Jude, where Aaron underwent a second brain surgery to remove residual tumor. He then received radiation therapy and chemotherapy over the next several months.
“St. Jude is hope,” says Aaron’s dad. “They never give up. I’d give them the moon and stars if I could. Thank you seems so inadequate.”
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“I got to be with my son every day, all day,” says Aaron’s dad. “It was amazing. I’d never had that opportunity before.”
Aaron has finished treatment and his latest scans show no evidence of disease. He returns to St. Jude regularly for checkups.
“Aaron is my hero,” says his father.
To help give hope to children such as Aaron who are fighting life-threatening illnesses, please become a Partner In Hope.