My name is Declan and I am 7 years old. My sister Kennedy is 6, and my twin baby brothers, Dylan and Carter, are 1. Right now, I am a first grader at Kennesaw Elementary School. Soccer is my favorite sport, and I love to play Wii with my friends and play outside on my bike, scooter or plasma car. And, oh yeah, I have cancer.
In March 2012, I wasn’t feeling too awesome. I was still in school and playing baseball, but my legs were so achy and full of bruises, and I felt tired. I didn’t think there was anything wrong. Maybe I just needed some more sleep. But I was surprised to find out that I have acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Having cancer has been kind of like being on a weird roller coaster ride. Some days I don’t think about it much. I just take my pills and forget about it. Other days have been kind of tough. When I was first diagnosed, I felt so bad I thought I was dying. But my parents told me I was going to be fine and that the medicines were so strong that it was making me feel like I was dying, but I really wasn’t. I lost my hair too, but I don’t think about that much. I don’t like the mouth sores, feeling tired or that food tastes bad. But I don’t mind having chemotherapy because I know it has killed the cancer and it is helping to keep it away. But I sure don’t like all the pokes I have to have to keep me in remission. Three and half years is a long time to cure leukemia. One day I hope that some doctor can find a way to stop leukemia from happening. It has to be a pill, though; kids don’t like shots.
Going to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Scottish Rite hospital is OK. I love my techs, nurses and doctors. They take great care of me and my family. And when I was in the hospital, I actually kind of liked being there. They have awesome pizza, and I can have it any time of the day I want it, and my friends from Child Life make being in the hospital or at the clinic fun. If you have to be at the hospital, I would say you should go to the Aflac floor or clinic because it is way cooler than any other doctor place. Trust me, I know.
And having cancer has also been kind of fun at times. I get to collect Courage Beads; I have three strands already. There are ones for visits, pokes, chemotherapy, blood transfusions and even ones for when I’m having a rough day. I have been able to go to cancer camp where I got to try archery and play tons of games. This winter I am going to meet Santa and go ice skating with different groups who help kids like me with cancer. So I guess if I have to have cancer right now, at least I get to have some extra fun sometimes.
Thank you so very much for raising money for the Aflac Cancer Center. Every penny you raise really does help a lot of kids like me. My hope is one day there will be no more cancer and no more kids will have to deal with being sick.