On July 6, 2017 Owen had an appointment with a gastroenterologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) because he had been experiencing occasional nausea for a few weeks. A series of tests over the day led to the discovery of a brain tumor (medulloblastoma) in the back of his brain. Owen underwent surgery on July 7 to remove a large tumor. The surgery went well and if he continues his steady recovery he may be able to come home for a few weeks. Later in the summer Owen will start chemotherapy and radiation treatments at CHOP.
Owen is more than his condition. Owen is, well, Owen. He always has a ready smile, a cheerful attitude, a kind word to share and an often silly sense of humor. He places great value on kindness and friendship with both kids and adults alike. Owen enjoys school, especially math, science, and extensions, and is looking forward to being an eighth grader at Swift Middle School. He stays busy playing Little League, Solanco Youth Basketball and running with the school cross-country team. Important parts of Owen's life are his involvement in his Boy Scout Troop and in the church youth group. He also likes building things with Legos and running around the farm with his dogs and his family.
How can Owen's care community, friends and family support Owen?
Although this diagnosis has changed our lives, Owen is still himself. He still has the same personality and interests and values that he did before cancer. The most important thing the community can do is to help him continue to be himself, which is a bright, cheerful and sometimes goofy kid.
We have been deeply moved by the outpouring of support and prayer for Owen and our family. Please continue with the kind thoughts and words of encouragement for Owen. What you say or how you do it (text, email, send a card) is much less important than the simple act of doing it and reminding Owen that many people are supporting him on this journey. We shared your encouragements with Owen before his surgery and we have been reading your messages to him as he recovers. Everything we received was greatly appreciated. Such continued expressions of compassion will help carry him through the rough patches he will face in the coming year.
From his friends we also ask that that you help him keep connected to his normal kid life. The basic idea is to help keep him involved with the things he was involved with before cancer. Examples include texting him a silly joke, chatting with him about your daily life via text or letting him follow your regular life via instagram. He will have his iPhone with him throughout the process to help him stay connected.
Similarly, it will be helpful to keep Owen updated about the regular events he participates in when he cannot attend in person. The content is not important. It is the act of involving him that will help the most.
Owen iPhone number is 717-917-6552. For now, texting will be better than phone calls. Please use Owen's iphone only for interacting with and providing support to him. If you have specific questions or want further updates please send those to his Dad's email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please recognize that interacting and supporting a kid who is going through cancer treatment can be stressful and that you should only do what you are comfortable with. It is perfectly okay to choose not to participate or to take breaks from supporting him.
Owen has a long and difficult road ahead of him but we are hopeful that with everyone working together we can get him through this. It is difficult to convey how grateful we are for all the heartfelt support.