A MUM who posted a heartwarming photo of her little girl consoled her brother as he was sick with chemotherapy, shared an update on his brave boy.
Beckett Burge was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April 2018 and spent months in the hospital receiving treatment.
In a photo posted on social media in 2019, Beckett, who was just 4 years old at the time, was being consoled by her 5-year-old sister Aubrey while she was ill.
Now, mum Caitlin Burge, 30, has revealed that her son has finally been given the all-clear.
Caitlin, who lives in Texas, USA, said Beckett, now six, was back in school and was finally able to ring the chemo bell last week.
Caitlin said: “When we heard he got everything clear, it was so exciting. His oncologist came over and said ‘No more chemo – we’re done. Get rid of everything’.
“Beckett was shocked [when he got the all-clear]. His face lit up but then he said he didn’t want his port because he knew it would keep him alive. He has some nerves.
“He’s officially done with it and it’s a bitter moment.
“You’d think you’d all be happy but now it’s kind of scary because you don’t have that chemo that assures that the cancer will go away. It’ll be a whole new world.”
Caitlin had previously decided to release a striking image of her children to show the importance of family in times of crisis.
It shows Aubrey comforting her brother as he leans on the toilet as he is ill.
Caitlin says that after the snap, Aubrey washes her brother’s hands and takes him to the couch before offering to clean the bathroom.
Caitlin said Aubrey had ‘such a huge impact’ on helping her brother recover from cancer.
He explained that Aubrey was a loving figure to his brother, but now that he’s off chemo, he’s more independent.
Whenever Aubrey tries to help his brother he insists that he can do it himself.
Caitlin said they can now play together like normal siblings.
But it hasn’t always been that easy and when Beckett was first diagnosed, she spent a month in the hospital around her sisters’ fifth birthday.
During his stay the young man had to undergo chemotherapy, blood transfusion and platelet transfusion.
While he was in the hospital, the children were separated and taken care of by other relatives – Aubrey went to her grandmother’s house.
The family sent their youngest daughter, Chandler, who is about two years old, to live with her uncle.
She would caress his back and say everything will be fine, clean his face and wash your hands for him
When they met again, they hadn’t seen each other since Beckett was diagnosed.
Caitlin said: “Beckett was too small, couldn’t walk and had lost a lot of weight. It was very awkward for Aubrey and he looked different.
“We weren’t really sure how to handle the situation or if we wanted him to know what was going on.
“But whenever he came home Aubrey was trying to figure out why he didn’t want to play – it was not like him.
“She wondered why he was sleeping all the time and needed help in the bathroom. He would just be sick and he would never be sick before.
“She didn’t know what was going on, but she knew from experience that when she was sick, we would give her a pat and help her through it.
“She just picked up from the experience and took over. She would rub his back and tell him it was going to be okay, wipe his face and wash his hands for her.
“After that, she also took him back to the living room and put him on the couch. She asked me if she could clean the bathroom too, but I told her to go and sit because it wasn’t her job.
“She takes it upon herself to help and make sure everything she comes into contact with is clean. She’s just another set of eyes.”
Caitlin said that Aubrey would look at her brother’s pictures and ask questions about all the medical equipment around her, desperate to get her play friend back.
Caitlyn said: “We took pictures of her in the hospital and she scrolls through them on my phone.
“She will go to the picture and ask ‘Why is he wearing a mask?’ And we’ll tell him. He’s seen a dozen doctors throw a mask over his face, inject him and pump a dozen drugs through his body, while he lies helplessly.
“She wasn’t sure what was going on, she only knew something was wrong with her brother, her best friend.
“We explain that he got really sick, that’s what happened, he didn’t eat or do anything, he didn’t do anything, it can’t be stopped and it’s not going to happen to him.”
“We explained everything to him and got our social worker involved.
“We’ve been very open with him so any questions that he has, we talk with him, we even explain it with Beckett in the room.”
What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of blood cancer that begins in young white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow.
Adults and children can get it but it is most often diagnosed in young people.
It is very rare, with around 650 people being diagnosed with the condition each year in the UK.
Many of the symptoms of ALL are vague and nonspecific. It may feel like the flu because the symptoms are caused by too many abnormal white blood cells and not enough normal white cells, red cells, and platelets.
Symptoms may include:
- bruising or bleeding easily
- frequent infections
- general weakness
- weight loss
- joint pain
- pale skin
- swollen glands
This is a genetic change in stem cells that causes immature white blood cells to be released into the bloodstream.
However, it is not clear what causes DNA mutations to occur.
The main treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is chemotherapy, and usually steroids as well.
Treatment with a targeted cancer drug may also be used. Some people will need a stem cell transplant.
The outlook for adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia is not as promising as it is in children.
About 40 percent of people aged 25 to 64 will live five years or more after receiving their diagnosis.
Among people 65 years of age or older, about 15 percent will live five years or more after being diagnosed.
Source: cancer research uk
Beckett showed incredible strength despite taking chemotherapy pills every night and requiring regular hospital treatment.
Caitlin said: “His condition started with an overnight ear infection. There was nothing that could suggest cancer.”
Now that they have everything clear, Caitlin said they are looking more like a ‘normal kid’.
She said: “He’s also got chemo side effects he’s dealing with. He has leg pain and struggles a bit.
“Overall, he is happy. It will be the icing on the cake for him when he gets his port out in two weeks.
“They can play like normal siblings now. I go to school with them in the morning but they will bike home together.
“They’ve been playing outside together and now being kids. Aubrey is on a competitive cheer team now.”
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for the online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call us on 0207 782 4368. You can whatsapp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.