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  • In Viral Photo, Mom Shows How Childhood Cancer Affects the Entire Family

    The impact of childhood cancer extends to the child’s siblings.
    by Rachel Perez . Published Sep 13, 2019
In Viral Photo, Mom Shows How Childhood Cancer Affects the Entire Family
PHOTO BY courtesy of Kaitlin Burge
  • Parents always say they would rather be sick instead of their child, especially when it’s a disease as severe and debilitating as cancer. Seeing a child go through treatments is painful and frustrating, and it is hard to describe how it affects a family's daily life. One mom, however, offers a glimpse of the not-so-talked about impact of childhood cancer on the family.

    Mom of three Kaitlin Burge from Texas in the United States shared a raw and moving photo of her kids Beckett, 4, and Aubrey, 5 that was taken in January 2019. Beckett, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia more than a year ago, was experiencing one of the ugly side effects chemotherapy. Leaning over the toilet bowl, he was comforted by his big sister who rubbed his back.

    “Vomiting between play sessions. Waking up to throw up. Standing by her brother’s side and rubbing his back while he gets sick. Going from 30 lbs to 20 lbs. This is childhood cancer. Take it or leave it,” Kaitlin wrote on her personal blog.

    Kaitlin told SmartParenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger that the siblings “are still closer than ever.”

    She adds, “He still gets sick during chemo, and she still supports him and is right by his side,” she added.

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    Beckett’s treatments has taken Kaitlin away from Aubrey and her 23-month-old daughter (the two girls stay with their grandparents when his Beckett is in the hospital).


    “The siblings are forgotten about a lot of the time. They make a lot of sacrifices that people don’t realize,” she told CNN.

    “Childhood cancer affects the entire family,” Kaitlin said. “My two kids, 15 months apart, went from playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together,” she added.

    Aubrey saw her little brother get poked and prodded with needles and given all sorts of medicine as he laid helplessly. When Beckett was released from the hospital, he had to re-learn how to walk and didn’t want to play.

    “The lively, energetic, and outgoing little brother she once knew was now a quiet, sick, and very sleepy little boy,” Kaitlin said.

    Aubrey didn’t understand what was happening with his brother, why he could walk before and not now, why he did not have enough energy to walk to the park or why she had to back to school but he could not.

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    Kaitlin, however, wanted Aubrey to see brother’s struggles and support him in any way she could in the hospital or at home.

    “Children need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill,” Kaitlin said. “The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation,” she explained.

    Beckett’s treatment is expected to be completed in 2021, which feels like an eternity for Kaitlin and her family. “He’s got several challenges to overcome, but he’s a fighter,” the mom of three wrote.

    “Finding positive, I think, in the ugly is a good outlook in life,” Kaitlin added.


    Learn some of the common symptoms that could mean your child may have cancer here.

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