Thursday, March 6, 2008

Brett Workman

J-5 is an amazing place. People are thrown together in an odd random fashion. Relationships develop, and sometime very quickly. Although we have been part of the J-5 "family" for only 4 months, there are people here that I do not recall a time I did not know them.

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.
It has been said that if a wife loses a husband, she is called a widow.
If a husband loses a wife, he is a widower.
A child who loses a parent is called an orphan.
But what do you call a parent who loses a child?
There is no word, for no word could ever express the sorrow.

Brett Workman


Anonymous said...

Rest in peace, Brett. You are a fighter and will remain an inspiration.

Anonymous said...


Stef Tarapchak said...

I saw the post on Brett's site last night and was saddened by this news. He is in a place we can only dream of and he is cured and will never be ill again.


deyerles said...

I was saddened by the news also.
Such a brave young man. My prayers to his family.


Tammy C said...

So sorry to hear about Brett.

But what do you call a parent who loses a child? There is no word, for no word could ever express the sorrow.-I have a sister who buried her son at 21.After 4 years it still breaks my heart that her son broke her heart.

On another sad note,please keep the family of Eve Carson in your prayers.She was the student found murdered here in North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

I was on Bretts web site for the first time yesterday afteroon. Maybe Brett had already passed. I do not know. Your postings prompted me to finally get on the site but I didnt really want to put a beautiful face to this sad story. It is more real then. I know that sounds selfish but sometimes my heart feels like it will explode with pain for all the parents going through the worst nightmare!! On the other hand, it draws us to our knee's in prayer.
Someone posted "Rest in peace, Brett". One thing Brett is not doing today is resting!!!! Praise God.
Let me HIGHLY recommend the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. Their is also a version for younger people. This author is not a fly by night but highly esteemed in the Christian community. Heaven is going to be a blast!! [old 1970's bumper sticker]
Tyler, hang in there. As you mourn Brett's passing remember two things, he is having an awesome time in Heaven. 2] people do go into remission from Burketts and are cured!!!!
Connie Lukacs[Garver/Malarkeys friend]

Kristy Culp said...

I've followed each and every one of your stories after finding you through Stef. He was our sons' soccer coach, and is an amazing guy. I'm so saddened to hear of Brett's passing. Cancer is something I just want to punch in the face! My dad lost half of his pelvis to chondrosarcoma. He is cancer free, but traded that to live a life being disabled. Cancer CAN be beat, and Tyler you keep fighting! You are in our prayers, although we don't even know you. My twin 8 year old sons ask God every night to heal you and your friends (we're neighbors, too, we live in Hilliard). Keep the faith, and we're keeping it strong for you.

Mom said...


May God hold Brett's mother close to His heart. There is no word or name for what she is going through. I watched my parents, your MaMa & PaPa, go through the same thing many years ago. The pain of losing their daughter, my sister, was more terrible than the cancer she suffered.

And to Brett's brother - there is little out there humanly to comfort you. It seems brothers and sisters are ignored in this journey. Look upward as there is comfort in communing with Brett. In time the memories will turn your day into laughter. I still talk with my sister every day. You gave such a precious gift to your brother to try to save him. You are a hero, And Brett was blessed to have you as a brother.

Brett Workman's name was left at the Prayer Wall in Jerusalem on Monday March 3, 2008. God wanted him home.

"Living with Death and Dying" by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross discusses children and their families going through this terrible time.

Peace and Love,


Lisa Slonecker said...

You're right--there COULD be no word that could describe the pain a parent must go through when they lose their child.

It's not fair that Brett has been taken from his friends and family, but know that he is in a better place free of suffering.

Losing one of the hospital "family" is really, really hard. Especially a friend that shares a common diagnosis. However, remember that you CAN beat it and there are lots of Burkitt's is sitting here smiling at me right now! :) :)

Stay strong. Prayers for Brett's family and all of you.

Lisa Slonecker

Anonymous said...

may God bless you and keep you safe and hold you in the palm of his hand....

Stefanie said...

God Bless you, Kyle and Family!