A Texas mom took to Facebook to share an emotional account of how childhood cancer not only affects the child, but siblings and the rest of the family.
The social media post has now been shared far and wide, with people from all over the world sharing similar experiences and positive words.
Kaitlin Burge posted a photo to social media showing her 5-year-old daughter Aubrey rubbing 4-year-old Beckett's back as he leaned over a toilet, feeling sick from the effects of chemotherapy. Beckett was just shy of 3 years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to the Gold Hope Project.
"One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family," the post on Facebook reads. " You always hear about the financial and medical struggles, but how often do you hear about the struggles families with other children face?"
The post, shared earlier this month, is one of many on the "Beckett Strong" Facebook page managed by Burge, who created the page to keep people updated on little Beckett's battle against cancer.
"My two kids, 15 months apart, went from playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together," the post continues. "My then 4 year-year-old watched her brother go from an ambulance to the ICU. She watched a dozen doctors throw a mask over his face, poke and prod him with needles, pump a dozen medications through his body, all while he laid there helplessly. She wasn’t sure what was happening. All she knew was that something was wrong with her brother, her best friend."
The social media post is a candid look at the reality of childhood cancer and its effect on siblings. The post notes that siblings, especially young children, may be confused about why their brother or sister suddenly can't play or go to the park. But for Burge and her family, having Aubrey be a part of Beckett's cancer journey has been important, the social media post says.
"Why did we take his sister with us and why did she see all of this at a young age? Children need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill," the post states. "The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation. She spent a fair amount of time, by his side in the bathroom, while he got sick. She stuck by him. She supported him and she took care of him, regardless of the situation. To this day, they are closer. She always takes care of him."
As of Tuesday morning, the Facebook post has more than 4,500 comments and has been shared more than 31,000 times.
"Thank you for posting this emotional toll of childhood cancer on the entire family! We went through it with my son when he was 5 when diagnosed 2002," Julie Long commented on the post. "Thankfully our son is doing well and is a registered nurse. We had to make many family adjustments for the 3 years my son had chemotherapy. Need childhood cancer Prevention Asap!"
Another person, LaBreesa Murphy, wrote "I totally understand, Mama. I was 6 and my brother was 3 when he was diagnosed with Leukaemia (sic). Every hospital visit, chemo therapy, blood work, I was right there with him. Sadly he passed away at the age of 7, but I'll always carry a part of him with me. Cancer affects everyone, and those little humans fighting cancer and the most bravest, strongest souls you'll ever meet."
People experiencing the same situation also commented on the photo with their own images of siblings.
"Thank you for sharing this, siblings are heroes too," Amy Hale said on the post. "My five year old does not understand either why his brother was healthy and strong one minute, and being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor the next. Why he spends so much time at the hospital and why he will come home and vomit. It’s a lot to take in for everyone. Prayers to your family from ours."
The family has a PayPal page for anyone looking to make donations to Beckett's fight against cancer.