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  • 4 Years Old

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

I’ll never forget the pain of December 2, 2020. I was making a sales call for work and had several missed calls from my husband, Marcus. He rarely calls me repeatedly in the middle of a workday. I learned our two year old son, Reese, had a fever and small purple dots on his legs (petechia). We weren’t the kind of parents who took our kids to the doctor for every little thing, but this was different. Marcus took him to our pediatrician. They did bloodwork and found Reese’s white blood cell count was through the roof. My husband could tell by the look on the doctor’s face something was seriously wrong.

The drive from our house to Children’s Healthcare (Scottish Rite) in Atlanta for further testing, was filled with mental torture. Our minds raced, our hearts beat out of our chests, and panic sank in. We sat on a bed in a small, dimly lit room in the ER waiting to hear what was wrong with our precious boy. Marcus had stepped out to meet my mom in the parking lot since they said it could take some time. I called my dad. But just a few short minutes later, the doctor rushed in. I looked up, hoping with every ounce of my being she would say Reese was okay.

“I’m so sorry to tell you this. But we examined Reese’s blood under a microscope. And based on everything we’re seeing, your child has Leukemia.” I fell. My arms went limp, dropping my phone on the hospital bed. “No! It can’t be. Can you run more tests? Are you sure? Oh God, no!” 

“We weren’t the kind of parents who took our kids to the doctor for every little thing, but this was different.”

I sat alone feeling shattered into a million pieces, completely broken. Marcus walked in and I shared how our entire world had just been torn apart. We curled up next to Reese, holding him, caressing his cheeks, soaking the pillows with tears. I’ll never forget it. 

One year later, and our sweet boy is in remission! Praise God! He’s continuing to receive chemotherapy and takes a revolutionary medication to turn off the Philadelphia chromosome; a rare chromosome he was diagnosed with in addition to Leukemia that essentially tells his body to keep making cancer.

We thought it would be super special for Reese and his older brother, Jett, to have a playroom where they can go to take their minds off the heaviness of this season we are in. Jett has had a very hard time as he’s often felt left out and forgotten. Sometimes he even says how he wishes he had cancer too. Reese adores Jett and this would give them a special area that is all theirs.

Photography by Niki Murphy Photography