Guest post by Jessica Parsons.
In November 2013 my son, Finn, was diagnosed at 3 months old with Ewing Sarcoma. The news that your child has a potentially life threatening disease at the beginning of their life is something that no parent is prepared for. Despite the scary news, he has completed 9 of the 14 rounds of chemotherapy without many problems. After 6 months of relatively easy treatment and ruled “cancer free,” he has overcome more than most grown adults. He has had two surgeries, ten blood transfusions and countless shots but still maintains a happy demeanor.
Every part of his treatment came to a screeching halt at the beginning of April, when fever and cough landed him in the hospital. Finn was diagnosed with pertussis (“whooping cough”) and the steady downhill slope of his health happened quickly: he went from a happy, smiling baby to one the doctors were not sure would ever come home. He was intubated, 100% sedated and medically paralyzed so that he could have a machine breathe for him. He was kept alive by intubation for 12 heart-wrenching days before he was able to slowly be weaned from the machines.
While watching Finn fight for his life, like every parent would ask, the persistent question of ” how could this happen to my baby?” kept playing over and over in my head. The doctors all agreed that because he could not be immunized, he had likely come into contact with someone who was not vaccinated and contracted the bacterium. Finn has beaten cancer by 9 months’ old but was almost taken down by a vaccine-preventable disease. Finn, like other immunosuppressed people, require herd immunity to survive and to help them finish their treatment without further struggle.
Please think of Finn when you are considering whether or not to vaccinate your children, and remember that adults need booster vaccines as well to protect our most vulnerable. You can help support Finn at the Fighting for Finn site.
Jessica is an Executive Director of Financial Services and the wife of an Army Emergency Care Sergeant. She quit her job to take care of her son and has been a full-time bedside nurse for him since.