New Hanover County
Jacob was diagnosed with A.L.L. leukemia when he was 8 years old. Our family had just moved to Wilmington and I had recently learned I was pregnant with our 4th child. Suddenly all plans for our family stopped and our only focus was on saving our child. We quickly learned that standard treatment for boys with A.L.L. (the most common form of childhood cancer) consists of more than 3 consecutive years of chemo. Jacob would receive chemo injected into his port, injected into his spine, and daily oral chemo pills. We also learned that Wilmington does not have a pediatric oncology hospital and that we would have to travel to UNC in Chapel Hill for treatment. In the beginning, we went to the UNC children’s chemo clinic twice a week – that’s 5 hours round trip just of driving. Life was terrifying for all 1,186 days of his treatment. We dealt with debilitating side effects, lived in fear of fevers (which meant an immediate trip to the hospital) and worried constantly about Jacob and how all of this would affect our other kids. Still, we knew we were lucky that Jacob was diagnosed with a cancer that is “usually” highly treatable. Many of our other childhood cancer friends were not as lucky. Jacob is now 15 and in remission, but our family still focuses a lot on childhood cancer. We will never forget our friends we lost along this journey so we do what we can to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer research. We also try to help other childhood cancer families in the Wilmington area since we understand the financial stress that comes with a diagnosis – especially when so much travel is involved.
–Amy Hermann, Jacob’s mom