From California to New York and Michigan-with the help of Compass to Care-Parker, 10, and his family received the care he needed to beat Neuroblastoma.
As 10-year-old Parker and his family settle back into their San Diego home from a camping trip to the beach, his mother Crystal is thankful for memories like these. Without the help of great healthcare on the other side of the country, these family adventures might not be possible.
In April 2013, at age 6, Parker was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. His parents felt fortunate there were options for treatment that would avoid a stem cell transplant. However, the closest treatment was in the state of New York.
Parker was able to undergo a few rounds of chemotherapy in San Diego, under the guidance of the doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, before needing to travel to New York for further treatment. When the time came, Crystal was forced to take a leave of absence from her nursing career and traveled with Parker every three weeks for five consecutive days of treatment.
After several trips the first couple months, the family decided it would be most feasible to reside in New York, where the treatments were being done. In June, her husband Dave’s company agreed to hold his job until their return. So the family of five, including siblings Kennedy, 8, and Karsyn, 5, moved to New York for the summer.
“So many factors come into play,” says Crystal. “There’s the initial shock and financial worries and then it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You just have to take one hour at a time and reach out to others in the situation. That’s how we were able to find Compass to Care.”
Another parent in New York shared the Compass to Care mission and the passion Michelle has for these families. “She knows the struggles personally,” says Crystal. “She makes everything so easy and smooth.”
Upon moving back to San Diego after the summer, a new trial treatment option was available in Michigan. Compass to Care immediately helped Parker obtain the expert care he needed with numerous trips to the Great Lakes State. Crystal recalls the hope she felt during this time, when Parker reached over and said: “Mom, I know I’m going to be okay. There are so many prayers for me around the world.”
Today, he’s a regular witty kid again who loves BMX bikes and funny videos on YouTube. Without the help of Compass to Care, this might not have been possible. Parker is part of the long-term survivorship program and receives scans every six months.
“We are so thankful,” says Crystal. “Even the hard parts make you appreciate life even more. Bad things are always going to happen; it’s how you choose to handle and change it that will affect you in the future.”
Your donation to Compass to Care will help kids, like Parker, travel to cancer treatment.