We got the news on June 19, 2021. There was nothing more they could do to save our son’s life. We only had 139 days left. While we never would lose hope until Zach passed away on November 5, 2021 the remaining time was focused on easing his pain and enjoying the time with him as best as we could.
If you haven’t had to face this in life, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, if you are here because you’ve been told that your child won’t survive childhood cancer, I want to welcome you.
Whatever time you have needs to be cherished and not lost in a morass of calls to the hospital or insurance company about bills, or trying to figure out how hospice or palliative care can and should work, or what’s the best way to make a tissue donation and conduct an autopsy. You need to figure all of those things out, but making sense of it when, as a parent, you were just given the worst news you will ever hear may not seem possible.
We know, we’ve been there. Having someone to guide you, commiserate, share and listen, who’s gone through may really be the only person you can talk to. For us, as much as friends, family, doctors, therapists tried to be there for us, they just didn’t have the perspective that we had, that our child wasn’t going to outline his cancer.
While it may be hard to face, and it may be hard to raise your hand to say, yes, I want to talk to a peer to help me navigate the path for my child and my family, we can tell you that so many parents who have gone through this have told us they wish Zach’s Bridge existed when they were going through this.
They’ve told us that having someone to share their experience, someone to provide suggestions and ways to free up time to focus on what truly matters would have made a huge difference. It wouldn’t have changed the course of their child’s illness, but it would have helped them get the most of those days left – whether it’s 139, or 286, or 593 – no matter how much time you have, each moment counts.
That’s why we’re here.