1,168 days of Chemo. 20 spinal taps. 3 bone marrow aspirations. 6 blood transfusions. 74 visits to the hospital. 4 birthday parties on the cancer floor. This is a snapshot of what 10-year-old Addison endured in his treatment for Leukemia.
In April of 2010, Addison’s parents became concerned when their lively 5-year-old was too tired to hunt for Easter eggs. Bruises and fevers soon followed. They took him to the emergency room, thinking it was an infection. Instead, they got the shocking news that 98 percent of Addison’s marrow was cancerous. As you can imagine, the news was unbearable.
“My heart was crushed in a way I can’t explain,” Addison’s mom, Sarah, told us. They rushed him to Children’s Hospital Colorado. “The reality didn’t hit until they took Addison to his room. The elevator doors opened and the floor read ‘ONCOLOGY’. My sweet five year old child had cancer. Addison touched my face with his pale hands and said, ‘Don’t be scared, Mommy.’”
Their lives suddenly revolved around treatment schedules, long hospital stays, and daunting medical bills. Addison’s parents, Sarah and Kip, knew cancer would be physically traumatic for their son. But what truly overwhelmed them was the emotional and psychological toll the illness took on Addison, his sister Madelene, and themselves.
Medical professionals at Children’s Hospital Colorado immediately referred them to the Shining Stars Foundation.
Addison’s family was surprised to learn that Shining Stars is not just a one-time camp, but a full year of different recreational, outdoor, and social events. They would not have to pay for these services and could participate for as long as needed. Even better, the whole family could participate.
Ask Sarah to explain Shining Stars in one word? “THERAPY. We feel safe here and we feel secure. Nobody is looking at you like, why is your kid sick? Shining Stars is one of those priceless things. It is everything we need.”
Addison and his family have spoken at several Shining Stars events to raise awareness and help to mentor other families. Addison's sister Madelene has even started her own nonprofit for siblings of kids who have cancer! Click here to check it out.