For me, the Workman's are one such family. Brett Workman joined us on J-5 the first of January. His mother Sheryl had contacted me two months earlier as a result of a post I had made on a Burkitt's Lymphoma web site. We emailed several times as she told me about Brett, his twin brother Brent, and her 15 year old son Tyler. Brett began his battle with Burkitt's Lymphoma this past July. He beat the cancer in about three months, but relapsed within 30 days, just after his 17th birthday. Brett quickly beat it again, and then came to Children's for his bone marrow transplant.
The day they arrived I was walking down the hall in Nuclear Medicine and recognized Brett from pictures his mom had emailed. I began talking to him, but he just looked at me like I was crazy. When Brett came from around the corner and I realized I had been talking to his twin brother. You would think the mask and bald head would clue me in to who was who. I guess I was just excited to see another warrior in the battle against Burkitt's.
Over the next several weeks we talked a lot, and shared information. Sheryl is a single parent with three teenage boys. It is unimaginable attempting to take this burden on alone. She hasa sister and some very supportive friends that I got to know, but it is still an enormous burdon to carry. I do not know how she did it.
In 5 months cancer attacked Brett twice, and he beat it twice. In January Brett received a bone marrow transplant from his twin brother. On February 20th Burkitt's was back. The 3rd time in 7 months. The Workman's were sent home with no remaining options. I will never forget walking out with the family. As they were leaving this courageous young man lifted his head and said something in a weak and quiet voice. An attendant leaned her head down to Brett’s gurney and asked him what he had said. She then repeated his words, “Thank you all very much for all you have done for me”.
This past Sunday Brett was strong enough to attend church.
This afternoon this brave young man passed away.
Please keep the family in your prayers.