Meet our Ambassador Family

SunriseWALKS - Long Island

June 10, 2018

Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds
75 Colonial Springs Road
Wheatley Heights, NY 11798

 

MEET OUR AMBASSADOR FAMILY FOR THE 5th AURORAWALKS

We are THRILLED to be chosen as the Ambassador Family for the 5th annual AuroraWALKS on Saturday, April 15th. Our family has formed Jax's Axes...and you can help us reach our goal!



Our Story...  
 
On June 18th, 2021, I took my son, Jackson, to the doctor for what looked like a rash but with a spotted raspberry type bruising. Our pediatrician took one look at him and said, “This is hematological; I can’t diagnose this. You need to go to the CHOA ER.”
 
I remember thinking... hematological, can that be cancer...but no way. Not US? That won’t happen to us. That’s huge. Too big to happen to us. Jackson is too healthy for it to be cancer...but even still, I couldn’t shake that smallest of possibilities. When the results came back and the doctor sat with us, solemnly stating, “We found blast cells in his blood samples. It hasn’t been verified yet, but this is indicative of leukemia.” I just looked at my child, and then at my husband. We were both trying to come to terms with this heartbreak. I looked back at my child and tried to process what they were telling us. Through my heartache, my son sat and smiled away playing with some cars, completely unaware of the devastation that had just landed across his parents. 
 
This began our journey which is estimated to be a two-year long treatment plan. We have endured surgeries, hospital stays, countless clinic trips, and delays in his treatment. Through it all, he has smiled and played and ran around like any other 2 to 3-year-old boy. He has been polite and said thank you for IV pokes that weren’t easy for him to endure. He has been through the ringer and then some but still enjoys his life and is the happiest little boy you’d ever meet. Jackson gives hugs to all his nurses, telling them he loves them, and greeting everyone entering clinic with a BIG hello and smiles. He has taught me to realize that there is always a reason to smile and be happy, and that is how we fight, with positivity and optimism through and through! I am smiling because he is smiling every day! 
 
I have three boys and Jackson is my youngest. Our story of how Jackson’s diagnosis has affected our family unfortunately, doesn’t just begin the day he was diagnosed.
 
Let’s rewind a bit further back in time; on March 16th 2021, the world changed when Covid-19 shut down all schools. My older sons, Cameron, then aged 13, was in the second half of 7th grade and Noah was only 7, in the second half of the 1st grade. Both very pivotal years in a child’s development. They began became an incredibly long journey of isolation. In August of 2021, we opted to keep the two older boys’ home and enrolled them in a structured homeschool program, which sadly, didn’t have the interaction with peers we were promised. My boys muscled through, however, and they hoped to return to their regular public schools in the fall of 2021. But once again, God had other plans for our family, and with their brother’s diagnosis in June 2021, and Covid still stretching tragedy across the U.S., our family opted once more for the virtual path of education, at the expense of all three boys’ social growth.   
 
Cameron and Noah both understood the sacrifice we all made and although disappointed, they were willing to make it because they love Jackson so much. They have been patient and understanding, waiting for their parents’ time and attention. They have stepped up to help the family so that we could concentrate on Jackson’s care. They have waited patiently to return to their friends and their school in which they are most comfortable. They do all this because they love us, their mom and Dad, and want to help make it easier for us to do what we need to do. And they do all this because they love Jackson, their little brother, and want to see him happy and healthy! It is uplifting and heartwarming to see them love him and play with him. They would make any sacrifice necessary for each other. 
 
Last year, when we learned of Aurora, only Noah and Cameron attended, as Jackson’s counts were too low for him to join them. Now Jackson is BEYOND excited to be able to GO TO CAMP with his brothers this summer, at Aurora’s 6th summer of camp. We cannot express how grateful we are for what last summer at Aurora did for Noah and Cameron, who had been SO patient and brave and strong, and many times overlooked in all of this. As any family with multiple children knows, a cancer diagnosis doesn’t just affect the diagnosed child. It has demanded sacrifices from the entire family, and my older two boys have been stellar rockstars through all of this. They had their world flipped upside down with Covid-19, and just when there was hope life could get back to normal, their world was rocked again with their brother's diagnosis. They have had to miss out on so much to protect their little brother from possible exposure and risk of infections.
 
One year had already been stolen from them due to COVID, and now I had to ask them to sacrifice another. As a mother this was so difficult, but they did it and would absolutely do it again to protect their brother, who they love with all their hearts. It wasn’t easy for them, but they never complained or blamed anyone; it took a toll on them, though. They were so very isolated. 
 
From the first day picking them up from the Aurora bus, I knew that Aurora Day Camp was everything I had hoped it would be for them. They rushed off that bus with smiles on their faces, the kind of smiles I hadn’t seen in years. Aurora brought color back to them, breathed life back into them! They had been wilting and Aurora brought my boys back to life with just pure love and joy! They begged to go back every day, and they never missed a day. BOTH boys cried on the last day - including my apathetic 15-year-old who thought he was “too old for camp” before attending that first day. Of course, they are elated to attend again this summer and the cherry on top for Cameron and Noah is that Jackson CAN join them this year!! As Cameron is now 16, he is excited to be return as a counselor this time; volunteering his summer to be involved with the camp that stole his heart!! For all three of my boys - Aurora is what they look forward to, the thing that brings them the most joy in the world, the place where they can just be happy! I am so thrilled that they will get to experience it all together this time!
 
THIS is a key part of Aurora’s mission and why they include siblings. They know how hard this journey can be for all siblings. Thank you to Aurora Day Camp for recognizing the siblings of a child fighting cancer; they are THE unsung heroes in this long exhausting fight. Aurora understands what our family needs and is going through
 
We so appreciate that Aurora is doing their part to give them a wonderful fun summer. It’s time for both my older boys to have some time to just be kids and have fun with other kids in a safe environment; this is the mission of Aurora Day Camp. To simply give summer back to children with cancer, and their siblings.
 
Our family’s story was included in the latest powerful Aurora impact video, take a moment to watch it here below. Thank you for helping us give summer back to children with cancer and their brothers and sisters. 
 
Thank you to all of you reading our story and your willingness to give to our team and participate to help raise awareness and funds for this incredible camp! Our family is doing extremely well, we are fighting this thing and winning, and we are doing it together, and it is all thanks to the support that all of you give us, so again... 
 
THANK YOU! 
 
Now let’s... 
 
TAKE ACTION FOR JACKSON AND CUT DOWN CANCER AS JAX’S AXES!!!!!!