September: Beyond Medicine »

Instead of running RSS sponsorships this month, I’m raising money in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Click here to learn more and donate.


When our son was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009, we were thrust into the world of chemotherapy. As some of you heartbreakingly know, chemo is rough. The meds are brutal, and the side effects are enough to make anyone fall to their knees and plead for mercy. Josiah was just 7 months old when he got his first round of chemotherapy.

Even now, that sentence seems impossible.

How could anyone — let alone a baby — survive poison being pumped through their bodies? In his case, the chemo did it’s job. It’s been many years since scans indicated any type of growth of his residual brain tumor, thank God. Life at St. Jude goes beyond things like chemotherapy and radiation. Treatment is bigger than central lines and IV pumps.

Upon admission, we met people who worked across the hospital in all sorts of non-medical capacities. Child Life helped ensure that Josiah’s time in the hospital was as normal as possible. Going far beyond brining games to his room, Child Life has been hugely helpful in working through how to talk to Josiah about certain things over the years.

Since his first admission, he’s been receiving rehabilitation services in the forms of occupation, physical and speech therapy. His OT has known him since our very first week as a patient family. She and her co-workers taught Josiah how to walk without needing to crawl first. He now tries to take stairs two at a time. They’ve worked to reverse his left-side hemiparesis, which was caused by his tumor and related operations.

While he is now in a local public school, St. Jude’s school program has been hugely helpful in understanding his unique educational needs and how they’ve changed over the years.

These departments are just the tip of the iceberg. St. Jude is an institution designed to care for the patient’s total care, and the care of their families. There are social workers, parent mentors, counselors, spiritual caregivers and more, all ready to serve St. Jude kids and their families.

All of this care — like the chemo itself — is completely paid for by donations like yours.