20 years…

In 1996, at the age of 5-our amazingly sweet little boy was diagnosed with leukemia. In an instant our world changed-and we became a childhood oncology family. Over night we learned a new language, new routines, new normal. All the while praying that the care we were giving Cory would be enough. Chemotherapy was started the day he was diagnosed. A port was inserted. Painful bone marrow aspirations became weekly.

10 months into treatment, the cancer returned with a vengeance. This time in his Central Nervous System – and we were scared to death. What now? We would move heaven and earth to make sure Cory was given the opportunity to have another chance. We checked other hospitals and other protocols-but we always came back to-“this place feels like home”. The staff truly loved our Cory as we did. That care and compassion was not going to found anywhere else. And so-we made the decision for Cory to undergo an unrelated bone marrow transplant-which 20 years ago was still considered experimental.

In April of 1998, Cory became only the 3rd unrelated BMT patient at Columbus Children’s. This was not an easy decision. We were taking a huge chance, a huge risk. We were putting our son in the hands of this hospital. We had to trust, to let go of the fear and believe this in the only way we were going to save our Cory.

The treatment was brutal. Cory spent over 200 nights in the hospital that year. He withstood multiple days of chemotherapy along with total body and cranial spinal radiation. And we held his hand. And we cried. When he was not able to leave his small room for weeks, when the skin on his body was burnt and blistered, when he wasn’t able to eat for days on end, when even a night light would burn his eyes, when all he did was sleep in order to heal. And then-he started gaining strength. He was able to smile. And then we stopped crying.

It has been 20 years. Cory is 26 years old now. He has certainly had his challenges. But he is strong, he is kind, he is loving, and most of all- he is a survivor. He is here. He is present. The photo is of Cory and his fiancee. They had just finished a Tough Mudder Run. Cory’s second he had finished. He is the toughest person I’ve ever known. He has made our entire family better. Better people, kinder, compassionate and believing everyone deserves 2nd, 3rd and even 4th chances.

There is no doubt in my mind that Cory is here because of the care he received-and continues to receive- from the doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists that make up Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Thank you for loving our son.

https://flutter.nationwidechildrens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/IMG_0002-e1523295514724.jpg

In 1996, at the age of 5-our amazingly sweet little boy was diagnosed with leukemia. In an instant our world changed-and we became a childhood oncology family. Over night we learned a new language, new routines, new normal. All the while praying that the care we were giving Cory would be enough. Chemotherapy was started the day he was diagnosed. A port was inserted. Painful bone marrow aspirations became weekly.

10 months into treatment, the cancer returned with a vengeance. This time in his Central Nervous System – and we were scared to death. What now? We would move heaven and earth to make sure Cory was given the opportunity to have another chance. We checked other hospitals and other protocols-but we always came back to-“this place feels like home”. The staff truly loved our Cory as we did. That care and compassion was not going to found anywhere else. And so-we made the decision for Cory to undergo an unrelated bone marrow transplant-which 20 years ago was still considered experimental.

In April of 1998, Cory became only the 3rd unrelated BMT patient at Columbus Children’s. This was not an easy decision. We were taking a huge chance, a huge risk. We were putting our son in the hands of this hospital. We had to trust, to let go of the fear and believe this in the only way we were going to save our Cory.

The treatment was brutal. Cory spent over 200 nights in the hospital that year. He withstood multiple days of chemotherapy along with total body and cranial spinal radiation. And we held his hand. And we cried. When he was not able to leave his small room for weeks, when the skin on his body was burnt and blistered, when he wasn’t able to eat for days on end, when even a night light would burn his eyes, when all he did was sleep in order to heal. And then-he started gaining strength. He was able to smile. And then we stopped crying.

It has been 20 years. Cory is 26 years old now. He has certainly had his challenges. But he is strong, he is kind, he is loving, and most of all- he is a survivor. He is here. He is present. The photo is of Cory and his fiancee. They had just finished a Tough Mudder Run. Cory’s second he had finished. He is the toughest person I’ve ever known. He has made our entire family better. Better people, kinder, compassionate and believing everyone deserves 2nd, 3rd and even 4th chances.

There is no doubt in my mind that Cory is here because of the care he received-and continues to receive- from the doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists that make up Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Thank you for loving our son.

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