William was an old soul with a gentle spirit, a kind heart and a giggle that was contagious. He had a great big love of the outdoors and was a seasoned fisherman who shared that love with his granddad and stepdad.
William was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December 2015. It was a shocking blow, but we felt fortunate as there is much known about this type. It was when it was discovered that he had a rare subtype that we realized how much more complicated it would be and it was terrifying. He fought and coped and never complained. William received a bone marrow transplant and ended up doing well for quite some time. One year after his initial diagnosis in December 2016, he rang the treatment bell that he was cancer-free. That triumph was short-lived. Five short weeks later, he relapsed. Hearing those words were somehow so much worse and so much more terrifying than hearing them the first time. The cancer was back and with a vengeance. He fought a little while more and eventually he took his last breath on July 15, 2017.
William had this deep, inexplicable understanding of life. He understood how to find joy in the simplest things. He understood how to be thankful for every moment as it is a gift. We could all learn something by the way he lived. But that doesn't stop us from missing his light in our lives. I wonder how close he would be with his sisters today. I wonder how his face would've lit up knowing he is an uncle. I wonder if he would've taken to ice skating and found a love for playing hockey as much as he loved watching it. I wonder if he would've found his passion within our race family that embraced him. I wonder how far his fishing career would've take him.
I share his story because it's all I have left - memories. I share because there is a void that cannot be filled. I share because no parent should have to endure this forever grief. I share because some days are just plain hard. But others are simply amazing and breathtaking. I am humbled and beyond grateful that I was chosen to be his mom. He gave enough love to last a lifetime.
While we have lost William with us physically, cancer can never take from us who he was and the lives he's impacted. It helps to know you are walking along our side and along the sides of so many families that need to know they are not alone. Thank you for joining us to celebrate the childhood that every kid deserves.