My amazing little boy Charlie was so incredibly sweet, kind, silly and smart. I was so lucky to become Charlie’s Mommy when I adopted him at just 2 days old. Charlie brought much joy, laughter and love into so many peoples’ lives. He also taught many of us how to be better people. At the age of 4 1/2 he started getting terrible headaches and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with DIPG. It was and is the most horrific thing a parent can experience. As a parent, it is hard enough watching your child suffer from a bad cold or fever – but DIPG is unimaginable. My little Charlie was so brave through it all and put up with a ton of nerve-racking trips to the University of Michigan Children’s Hospital (45 minutes away), medications, supplements and a new diet. This is something NO CHILD or parent should have to experience. Children should not get cancer.
When you go through something like this, you cannot help but ask “WHY?” Why would my child, or anyone’s child, get cancer at only 4 1/2 years old?! I was always so careful to feed Charlie healthy, organic foods and used organic products whenever possible. So, what was it? The doctors blame a “genetic mutation,” but as Charlie’s Mom, that was not a sufficient explanation. There are so many harmful chemicals in SO many products (like RoundUp) out there today that are destroying our health. Today, 1 in 12 children have asthma, 1 in 13 have food allergies, 1 in 59 have autism and 1 in 285 will get cancer by the age of 20. This was not the case 20 or 30 years ago. We need to rethink the use of harmful chemicals on our lawns and farms, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in our food, scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets, the use of synthetic fragrances, and the list goes on and on… Sadly, just because products are on the shelf today, does not mean they are safe for use.
Two years out from Charlie’s death, it is still terribly surreal. I am fortunate to have several good friends and loved ones on this grief journey with me. Knowing that Charlie is happy and healthy and with his Grandma, Papa and Uncle Kevin now on the other side is something else that brings me a little comfort. My sweet boy has sent me many incredible signs (through music, giraffes, the color yellow…) and I have visited an intuitive medium several times for additional meaningful messages. I also recommend yoga, meditation, massages, and any other activities that bring a little bit of peace to families going through the pain and trauma of childhood cancer. I am sending much love and empathy to each one of those families.