On Friday November 15th, 2019, after what we thought would be a typical sick visit with our pediatrician for our 3-year-old Jaden, we were sent that morning immediately to MUSC Children's Hospital due to Jaden’s hemoglobin level being a dangerously low level of 1.2 (average range should be around 12.5). Once we arrived at the ER that late Friday morning, Jaden started countless blood transfusions and platelet transfusions around the clock for the next 3 days. The next 3 days of our lives were filled with uncertainty, fear, unanswered questions, tons of unfamiliar faces, bags of hanging blood, countless tubes for around the clock testing, and tears. We wouldn’t find our answer until Monday night, November 18th,2019 , around 6pm, when the doctors came to grab myself and my husband (Bobby), and asked us to follow them so that we may speak in private. Walking that hallway to the conference room, thats when it hits that if it was good news, why wouldn't they just tell us while we were in the room? Now, sitting at the table, across from the 2 doctors, the most devastating words that can be told to a parent were said: "Your son has cancer". B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia aka blood cancer.
Immediately upon hearing this news, time freezes, and your lives change. He's no longer allowed to eat certain foods because of how they can interact with the chemotherapy (until his body starts to adjust to it). That beautiful head of hair will slowly start to fall out in the next 3 weeks. Your 3-year-old, rambunctious, fearless boy will now have to have a port placed into his chest going into a major artery in the neck so be careful when playing with your son. He's no longer allowed to be in daycare surrounded by other kids his age that he's been around for the past 2 years. So that daycare you used daily to make sure someone is watching your child so that you can be an adult and go to work monday-friday,8am-6pm.... Yeah, that's now no longer available as an option. That job you just got hired with, after completing school less than a year prior, that's going to be put on hold until further notice. Make a decision on who the "bread-winner" is for the family so that one person can become the primary source of financial income to take care of your family of 5 so that the other parent can stay at home with your now immune compromised child. Avoid crowds and shopping. Hey, lets also throw into that mix that the flu season this year has been at an all time high and a global pandemic has now made it's way into the USA. What do you do? And, go!
Hi there, my name is Kelli Briggs, my husband is Bobby Briggs, and we have 3 incredible kids Jackson (M,21), Peyton (F, 18), and Jaden (M,6). Our son Jaden was diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia on November 18th, 2019 at the age of 3. Now, lets fast forward ALMOST 3 years and I am proud to inform you that Jaden is OFFICIALLY “NO MO’ CHEMO” as on February 7th, 2022! Not even 48 hours later, Jaden started in-person kindergarten on February 9th. And then, on May 12, he had his port removed! Hang on, there’s more… In June, Jaden started taking Karate classes with some of his buddies and is still loving it. On August 17th, he got to attend the first day of school at Drayton Hall elementary school as a first grader….oh my, time needs to now slow down! I can’t believe how many huge events have happened so far this year in Jaden's life. Unfortunately, a lot of adjustments have been made, since Jaden started back with school, that have put more stress on our plates.
With Jaden starting school, I have now returned to work full time in clinic (medical assistant at doctors care) and feeling as if I’m being thrown into the deep end of how to be surrounded by society again. Also, to note: for my line of work, I wear an N95 mask ALL.DAY.LONG. for 12 hours. It was such an adjustment doing from strict quarantine to now in an office wearing a mask and being surrounded by sick patients. As i’m learning to emotionally navigate into this new “norm”, I totally forgot about childcare for the summertime! So I think, Ok, i’ll pick up some extra shifts…not a problem since I’ll have someone watching Jaden while i’ll be able to work an extra day… Now I’m having to learn how to budget my finances to cover the expense of childcare, my husband would fall ill, and be required to be out of work for 3
months. Holy moly. He’s the “bread winner” of our family. His pays the mortgage, electricity, health insurance, both car insurance, and many of bills that he covers. What now? Well, you get another job to make ends meet. I now work 2 medical jobs. My now full-time job hours are Monday- Friday 8am-5pm and also work at Doctors Care every other weekend. I work 12 days straight before I get 2 days and then repeat. My time that i get to have with my family is extremely short. I work this much to support my family, keep a roof over their head, food on our plates, and to keep Jaden social with doing karate after school. I work this much to provide for not only their needs but for “wants” as well.
I need Jaden to see, learn, and understand that you have to work hard in life for the things we need, I’m missing out on a lot of valuable time in his life because I literally work all the time, and still struggling to make ends meet. However, with your help and generosity with working with Courageous Kidz for Christmas, the words “Thank You” just aren’t enough. The fact of knowing Santa will be coming to see my sweet boy is such a huge and incredible chunk of stress lifted, especially with his birthday (12/11/15) being 2 weeks before Christmas. Thank you so much for the bottom of heart!