During a normal evening’s dinner in March 2011, Beth and Bryan noticed a small lump on their son Laird's throat. The lump continued to grow, and after a month of doctor's visits and antibiotics, they went to Children's Hospital Colorado Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Laird needed surgery. What was supposed to be a one-hour outpatient procedure turned into the beginning of Laird’s cancer journey.
Laird had Burkitt's Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive - but curable - form of cancer. Soon after his diagnosis, the first nurse Beth and Bryan met predicted that everything would be okay. Laird would go through treatment, she said, and he would lose his hair, but he would survive.
“We were, of course, shattered, overwhelmed and scared that our son would die,” said Beth. They continued to return to the nurse’s comforting words throughout Laird's battle.
His treatment consisted of five week-long chemotherapy sessions, each more challenging than the last. Laird needed as many as 17 oral medicines each day and an injection in his thigh every night.
“He was a trooper,” Beth said, “even when he couldn't keep his food down or open his eyes in the light.”
Like their first nurse predicted, Laird went through treatment, lost his hair – and survived. On August 1, 2012, Laird celebrated his one-year cancer-free anniversary.
“From the surgeons to the nurses, the staff at Children's Colorado was incredible,” said Beth. “They took care of our entire family. Child life specialists used a doll to show our older daughter Sofi what her little brother's treatment would be like. The nurses and assistants went above and beyond to make Laird comfortable. The doctors patiently answered every question we had. Laird used humor to help cope, and everyone listened attentively to all of his jokes.”
This summer, the family decided to give back to the hospital that helped them by forming a cycling team for their first Courage Classic tour. As members of A Cure Insight, Beth, Bryan and Laird raised almost $50,000 for Children’s Colorado.
Though the ride is over, they will continue fundraising until August 31, and they would love to surpass their team’s goal.
“Our donors have no idea how much their support means to families like ours,” said Beth. “We feel forever indebted to everyone at Children's Colorado, and we are so fortunate to have a world-class facility with such an amazing staff here in Colorado.”