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Local Families Share Stories of Childhood Cancer

By Staff | Sep 23, 2015

Bentley Yow

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. The word “cancer” is one that no one ever wants to hear describe a loved one, especially when it describes their own child. Unfortunately, it seems as if the diagnosis of cancer is becoming more and more prevalent, or maybe perhaps it is just the rise in social media that makes it seem that way. Whatever the case, there are many local families that are currently battling this evil disease. Here are their stories, in their own words …

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The Yow family resides in New Martinsville, W.Va. Below, Abi Yow describes the family’s journey through Bentley’s battle with Neuroblastoma.

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Bentley was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, called Neuroblastoma, on June 26, 2014. That day forever changed our lives and everyone’s around us. Bentley completed eight rounds of chemo that also included tons of hospital stays for fevers and infection. Cancer is an awful disease and the treatment for it is harsh with even harsher side effects. It was traumatizing for us to watch our child go through that, but it was just as traumatizing for our other boys to watch. Every time Bentley is sick they ask if he’s relapsed, and just recently our middle son had to have a procedure done. He cried the whole way to Morgantown because in his mind he had cancer too. The fear of relapse is very real and every fever or bruise sends us into a state of panic. Bentley’s immune system still fluctuates and has us isolating to our house at times. Bentley’s diagnosis will follow him forever. The side effects of the chemo leave him vulnerable to chronic health problems and also leave him with a much higher risk of secondary cancers.

Elody Grace

We have been beyond amazed at our small community and all they have done for us. We could have never made it through all of this without them.

The many benefits and fundraisers saved us. With kids at home and Bentley in the hospital, I was only able to work just enough to keep our health benefits active. Our small community came together and was our protection in the storm. We will forever be grateful for that. Bentley is our superhero and showed us our unreal strength!

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Lynea Kasler is a Tyler County native who attended Tyler Consolidated High School. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her two daughters. Lynea’s daughter Elody is currently fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Childhood cancer. Little bald heads, baby’s first scar, hospital rooms, and pain. It’s one of those subjects that makes people shudder and cover their ears so they don’t have to listen. It’s easier to look away than to face the number one disease killer of our children.

I think of it this way. There is a “class” of 46 children being taken hostage. The attacker will wound every single one. And seven of the children will die. What if that happened every day? It does. And my child is in one of those “classrooms”. Elody Grace was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April of 2014. She has been through so much and most recently she got a blood infection and was hospitalized for two weeks. Because the infection was resistant to antibiotics, it settled in her calf muscle and she has had to learn to walk again for the THIRD time and is currently is physical therapy. She will not finish treatment until the end of 2016. These are real children in real danger, but the research is being funded by their parents. Communities (and even government) turn away because it’s “too painful” to watch. Pharmaceutical companies ignore childhood cancer because it’s not “profitable”. Our children are dying. Please don’t turn a blind eye. Wouldn’t it be better to have better cure rates, and less harsh treatments (children are often given adult chemotherapy which can cause lifetime side effects) before a child YOU love is diagnosed?

Be an advocate. September is childhood cancer awareness month.