DES MOINES, Iowa — September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and people want you to “go gold” to show support.
A cancer diagnosis is heartbreaking and something no parent wants to hear. They instantly become part of a whole new world of clinic visits, blood transfusions, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, not to mention all the life-long side effects and impacts on the entire family.
All this month on the Channel 13 News at Five, you will see the stories of Iowa’s youngest patients in the fight of their lives.
We will introduce you to 4-year-old Aila Nesbitt. Mother Amy Nesbitt said, “Aila has been in treatment for a little over a year.” She’s in treatment for High Risk B-Cell Leukemia.
“Over the past year, she’s taught me more strength and resiliency than I think I’ve learned in my life so far,” said father Nick Nesbitt.
You will meet Mckenna Riebkes. “They said it is Neuroblastoma stage 3,” said her mother, Jaime Riebkes.
“We`ve had some really scary times,” she added.
And, we’ll introduce you to Moses. “When he was two and a half, July 11th, 2016, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, ALL,” said mother Libby Avalos.
Moses also has Down syndrome and autism. “He seems to always bring out the best in people, I’ve found,” said Avalos.
You will hear how teens like Larissa Dockum are helping other kids with cancer. “I was just writing down a list of stuff to help the kids at the hospital, because Lord knows how long the kids have to stay at the hospital,” she said.
And, we’ll share the heartbreaking loss. “If our children fight or lose their battle, if we don’t spread awareness or we don’t do anything, it’s like they didn’t exist, or this is my way of keeping her memory alive, making sure everything she went through. Hopefully someone else doesn’t have to,” said Ashley Brooks.
Her daughter Allie died last year of DIPG, which is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem.
All this month, we’ll talk about how the community is raising awareness, research funds, and support so families don’t fight cancer alone.