Patricia McMorrow | 03.21.16
On Memorial Day weekend of 2013, Kevin and Tara Luther noticed something odd: the left side of their son Nolan’s face wasn’t as animated as it usually was.
Their holiday weekend turned into an urgent-care visit, which then became a hospital stay. Within the week, four-year-old Nolan underwent two surgeries. At the end of the second surgery, a diagnosis: Nolan had a cancerous tumor called rhabdomyosarcoma.
The diagnosis came with a nearly year-long treatment plan. The Luther family’s CaringBridge website was up the week of the diagnosis. There, the family explained the tests—both physical and emotional—that they now faced.
On the Move
The treatment plan included a temporary move to Indiana for two months to get proton therapy, a specialized radiation treatment. Kevin and Nolan moved to Indiana while Tara and brother Emmett stayed home.
From a distance, Kevin relayed messages of the treatments Nolan was undergoing to combat the rhabdomyosarcoma. But he also shared the highlights – Nolan’s first baseball game, making friends who were also going through cancer treatment, squirt gun fights.
And through it all, from states away, the family was able to stay connected.
“During the course of treatment CaringBridge really was one of our most valuable resources,” Kevin reflects.
In this two-minute video, Kevin shares how the family stayed positive throughout Nolan’s long rhabdomyosarcoma treatments.
An Outlet for Connection
“CaringBridge provided an outlet to educate our readers, and was a way for us to show Nolan’s strength and resilience.”
“When we moved to Indiana for treatment, it was a window into our lives—a way for me to share with the world that Nolan was OK, and we were having fun, making friends and living out some adventures,” Kevin says.
“On our CaringBridge site, a community of over 1,000 people gathered. It brought everyone there to help support us. The messages we received helped lift our spirits and provide a little extra boost that made things more bearable. Having this journal provided a therapeutic release, and it helped me greatly to write.”
Healing for Nolan
And now Nolan is in remission. But his CaringBridge site remains active.
“Some day, when he is older, this record will still exist and we’ll be able to remind Nolan of all he went through and how brave and strong he was, and show him how much love and support he had along the way.”
But it won’t just be a tool for looking back, he adds.
“A little further down the road, I also anticipate that I won’t be doing the writing anymore, but instead, as he grows and continues his journey, we’ll be turning it over to Nolan.”
Connect and Share
Because of the connection and strength Kevin received during their long-distance cancer journey, he recommends CaringBridge for families going through a health event of any kind. Start a free CaringBridge website to share health updates and receive love and support from your family and friends.
If you’d like to join Kevin in spreading the word about CaringBridge, check out our volunteer opportunities.