Colton, a 4-year-old oncology patient from Abilene, has not had an ordinary year for a boy his age. On a warm Wednesday in August, he and his family learned of his multiple tumors, and by that Friday, he was already transferred to Cook Children’s and in surgery. Again, not the standard way to end your summer as a 4-year-old. After finding six brain tumors and four tumors on his spinal cord, he got the largest one removed, which was the size of a tennis ball. Test results came back as medulloblastoma, a form of pediatric brain cancer. A plan of action was then created, starting with radiation five times a week at the Proton Center in Irving.
Being at treatment Monday through Friday can take an immense toll on a family, but Colton and his parents were incredibly thankful to have RMHFW to come home to after their long days. Not only did they get the comfort of a shorter commute and a place to really call home, Colton was actually incredibly inspired by a new friend.
Liam, also a 4-year-old oncology patient from San Angelo, happened to be staying at the House while getting treatment at the same Proton Center in Irving. The two hit it off immediately! From playing their favorite activities in the play room to running around the dining room during meals instead of actually sitting down to eat, the boys have had a blast together. People in the House even started to think they were twins. Liam’s mom says, “All thanks to the Ronald McDonald House! It was our second time to stay there for a few months and each time we’ve made lifelong friends.”
Colton’s mom shared with us how much it means to them that Colton and Liam are able to go to treatment together. Liam would even make it a point to reach out to Colton and encourage him whenever it was needed. The reassurance of having Liam by his side made all the difference for Colton, and the support that they brought each other only helped during their tough times at RMHFW. “It definitely helped seeing other people going through the same or similar circumstances,” Colton’s mom said.
Finding true friendship certainly does not come easy, but as 4-year-olds who don’t get the chance to play with their friends back home, it is a blessing to find that companionship and kindness at the House. The carefree, playful spirit that showed in both boys when they were together has given the families hope and happiness during a time when they needed it most.