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A Mother Shares Her Family's Story for Childhood Cancer Awareness

By HERWriter
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Maya Thompson Shares Her Story for Childhood Cancer Awareness Eric Patnoudes/Unsplash

September is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing gold for childhood cancer awareness. We can support pediatric cancer year-round, and for good reason.

Pediatric cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the United States, according to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

Childhood cancer can be considered unique. Yes, each cancer has its own manifestation and stages. Each kind wreaks havoc on the body and strains the lives of loved ones.

But what happens when your whole world is changed by the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease?

What happens when you’re a mom and your baby — your baby that knows of no bad in the world, your baby that is the light of your life — is diagnosed with cancer?

How do you survive the ultimate fight?

On May 9, 2011, Maya Thompson lost her son Ronan to stage 4 neuroblastoma nine months after diagnosis.

The American Cancer Society says that neuroblastomas as cancers that start in early nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system.

It all began on a family trip to Washington state, as she noted on her blog that chronicled Ronan's battle with cancer.

Maya was taking photos of Ronan and her twin sons, Liam and Quinn, for a Christmas card when she thought something looked wrong with Ronan’s left eye.3

Not long after returning home to Arizona, and many doctor appointments and a visit to Phoenix Children’s Hospital later, Ronan was diagnosed.3

“The first week I was in shock. First shock, and then denial. And then you get to this place of ‘well, of course my child is going to beat this,’” said Maya. “I just tried to make myself go to a really positive place and think positive thoughts and you just really can’t think any other way.”5

If your child has cancer, you’ll probably want to crumble. You’ll probably want to cry and breakdown and scream at the universe for letting this happen. But you can’t — at least not yet.

“Ronan was my number one priority. For as many times as I wanted to break down, I just couldn’t,” Maya said.

1) Facts About Childhood Cancer. National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Retrieved September 20, 2016.

2) The Ronan Thompson Foundation. Retrieved September 20, 2016.

3) Rockstar Ronan. Retrieved September 15, 2016.

4) What is neuroblastoma? American Cancer Society. Retrieved September 20, 2016.

5) Phone call interview. Maya Thompson. September 15, 2016.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.