Imagine taking your family to Disney World, only to learn your son has cancer. Not just cancer, but Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a very rare cancer and the fastest growing type of tumor. This was the reality for the Sherman Family in 2011.
It started when their 9-year old son Alex developed a horrible cough. They went to the doctor to make sure everything was okay and a routine x-ray showed he had a rapidly growing mass on his chest.
Alex immediately began treatments and the Sherman family became burdened with challenges that went far beyond cancer. Alex’s father lost his job because he couldn’t travel. They lost their insurance. Their family was constantly split up. Medical bills piled up. Alex and his siblings were emotionally traumatized, as they dealt with fears no child should have to face.
After four grueling months of living at the hospital, endless needle pokes, surgeries, and chemo, Alex was declared cancer free. But this did not come without a tremendous cost.
Alex’s mom Kim shared their story with us. “People think you should be back to normal. It is not that easy. Pediatric cancer never really leaves you. You aren’t the same family you were before cancer.”
They were devastated financially and emotionally.
It was at this time that they were introduced to Shining Stars and learned their whole family could receive support, care, and help. They had access to programs and events on a year-round basis, including a five day outdoor adventure family camp, a holiday party where each of their children received gifts, a night out at the circus with other families, a week of adaptive skiing and therapeutic activities for their son Alex, and much more.
“The relationships we gain through Shining Stars have had the greatest impact on us. People think supporters and friends will rally around you as you go through something like this, but people disappear.”
This is why Shining Stars exists. To help the Sherman family and families like them move past just trying to survive, to thriving and truly living again.