In September 2014, just a few months after Ross’ second birthday, his parents received the news that no parent even imagines hearing: your son has cancer.
Ross was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and has spent the past three years undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
“It was like a kick in the gut when we got the diagnosis,” said Ross’ mom, Jill. “We were in a state of complete shock for the first month.”
Ross has spent countless days in the oncology department at NYU Langone Medical Center – Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, with his devoted parents by his side every step of the way. However, they struggled with how to explain to their son what was happening to him.
Then, one day, his childhood specialist introduced Ross to a new friend — a Chemo Duck he affectionately named “Eddie.”
“It was a very random,” explained Jill. “He just liked the name. Now he takes Eddie with him any time we go to the oncologist. Otherwise Eddie is kept safely at home, out of reach of Ross’ younger sister and the dog.”
Not only does Eddie have the same port that Ross has, but Jill says that Eddie has helped make Ross’ treatment 100 times easier and has helped him feel a little less alone.
“It gives Ross a level of comfort, having Eddie with him,” said Jill. “He knows he gets to be with Eddie while he gets treated. And it also gives him some control in a situation that is out of his control.”
Ross will complete his treatment in December of this year. Outside of his cancer experience, Ross is just your typical four-year-old. He loves to play sports, loves to swim. He’s also completely obsessed with cars and has a collection of more than 600 matchbox cars — he even hopes to become a car doctor one day!
“It has been a pretty arduous journey. It really is the hardest thing that any family will ever have to go through,” said Jill. “But it does get better. You just have to take it moment by moment.”
“I will say that Lu has been a complete Godsend,” continued Jill. “It is truly amazing what she and Gabe are doing for kids who are undergoing cancer.”
As Ross completes his cancer journey this year, we look forward to seeing what the future has in store for him. From what it sounds like, the sky is the limit for this brave young man!