Science has come a long way over the years in both cancer research and treatment, but hearing your small child has developed the sometimes fatal disease is devastating nonetheless.
You know that they will likely become sick from chemotherapy and could lose their hair. You know that they may even need to undergone surgery.
You know that their lives will be changed forever, and yours will be too.
There will be countless doctor appointments and hospital visits.
They may not be able to play with their friends or join a sports or special interest club. Not for a while, anyway.
There aren’t many parents that even imagine how heartwrenching cancer can be on a mom or dad; all they want to do is protect their child from harm at all costs.
Luke Rollinson does; he knows how it feels to be a child with cancer and how heartbreaking it is for a parent to watch their child go through it.
In fact, Luke’s had to go through that exact scenario more than once.
When Luke was 18-months-old, he was diagnosed with a childhood form of eye cancer called Retinoblastoma or RB. Less than 24 hours later, he lost his right eye.
Now, Luke is 36 years old and a father of two. He has been cancer-free for 30 years but had to watch his son Eli suffer the same disease, RB, after doctors found small tumors in his left eye.
“At first, as any parent would be, my wife Katie and I were just gutted,” Rollison explained.
“However, like myself, numerous rounds of laser and cryotherapy has successfully treated these tumors to date, and the future looks positive for our little fella.”
But then cancer struck the Rollison family again.
Then Luke’s wife Katie was pregnant with the couple’s second child, they had genetic testing ran on the unborn baby. It turned out that the baby girl, who they named Harper, carried the RB1 cancer gene and would also have RB.
“She was born at 36 weeks and on day eight we were told she had a large tumor and would need to start chemo straight away,” Rollinson said.
“The chemo was very successful and she had six rounds, every 21 days for the first five months of her life.”
“Harper has a lot of secondary issues like indigestion through her stomach and bowel, and hearing loss from chemo so she is partially deaf, but she has all her hair back now and it’s all good.
“We’ve come through the other side. All of us.”
Watch Their Story:
Luke participated in Endure for a Cure recently, an endurance cycling race that lasts 12 hours to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Luke said the challenge was nothing compared to what Eli and Harper, now four and two, respectively, have endured.