"...one that is relaxed, happy, less anxious, more confident, and so excited to have made new friends who understand what he is going through."- Lauren, Mother of Jacob.
Meet Jacob. A 12-year-old boy from Castle Rock, Colorado who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, astrocytoma in 2011 when he was only 8 years old.
We feel so lucky to have spent a week in March getting to know Jacob at the 2015 Aspen Winter Games, and again this Summer at the 2015 Aspen Summer Adventure. We spoke to Jacob's mother Lauren to learn more about Jacob's story and to see what kind of impact these Shining Stars programs had on her family.
"Jacob became very ill in December 2011. He had a large fluid-filled cyst in his skull caused by a benign brain tumor (astrocytoma). Jacob endured 6 surgeries to drain the cyst and re-sect the tumor and a 7th surgery to place a shunt. He then had 4 additional surgeries to repair an incision that was not healing properly. Added into the mix was a dental surgery, for a grand total of 12 surgeries in 2012."
Think about watching your child endure one surgical procedure per month, for an entire year.
Try to imagine the emotional and financial stress that would put on any family.
In addition to cancer, Jacob is also faced with Noonan's Syndrome, which complicates his medical treatment protocol even further. Lauren explains how these medical issues have affected not only Jacob, but their entire family.
"Having a child with a serious illness sends you down a path that can only be navigated on a day-to-day basis. You can’t plan for anything more than a week out, and even then, it’s questionable. Living with a serious illness takes a toll on every relationship, especially within the immediate family."
We asked Lauren how Shining Stars Foundation has helped her family cope with these challenges.
"Jacob attended the Aspen Winter Games in March; he also attended the summer program in Aspen this past July. These programs were a turning point for him in regard to managing and overcoming some long-held fears and anxiety. Shining Stars has provided support and events for us that we could not have afforded on our own, or through another program. It has given Jacob incredible opportunities to be challenged, building his confidence, while surrounding him with other kids that he can relate to. This past year has been so incredibly hard for him and for our entire family, so it was a blessing for all of us to have a break from our routine of treatment and care-giving and just have fun!"
Thanks to donors and supporters like you, we make sure that Jacob does not fight his illnesses alone. Shining Stars events and programs will be offered to Jacob and his family from now until they no longer need us. It is your support that makes this possible!
Visit www.ShiningStarsFoundation.org and give what you can to make sure no child or family has to fight alone. Thanks, and have a great weekend!