When does your baby stop being your baby? If you talk to parents Marie and Joe, the answer is never.
Blaze was looking forward to his high school graduation. A senior at Tottenville High School in Staten Island, New York, school had always been a struggle, and June was supposed to be a time for celebration. Blaze, however, never got the chance to graduate with his fellow classmates.
One day, Blaze (after completing his daily paper route) showed his mother a strange rash on his feet. Using motherly instincts, Marie asked Joe to take their son to their family doctor. Blood tests confirmed that Blaze had leukemia.
Within hours, Blaze was admitted to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to begin chemotherapy for TCell ALL leukemia and to destroy a mass it had created that was covering his trachea, heart, and lungs. Luckily, the mass was treated in time, but regular maintenance chemotherapy has not been easy. After the final day of his first round of maintenance 1, Blaze had an allergic reaction that caused him to lose the use of his legs for 48 hours.
Watching their 6’2″ son suffer has not been easy for Marie, Joe, and their other two children (older brother Chris and younger sister Liana). Weekly treatments are so intense that Blaze is unable to stay home alone for the first year. His father Joe had to quit his job in order to stay with his son full time. The family has been unable to receive assistance from traditional programs since Blaze turned 19 in July (even though he is treated in the pediatric ward). Marie says, “I did not know there was a better time to get leukemia.”
Blaze and family remain positive about the future. On one recent round of treatment, Blaze (who lost nearly 40 pounds at the beginning of treatment) was just happy he was done in time to get home and see his beloved Jets on TV. However, Marie says that their lives are no longer carefree and “fear of the unknown is always in our hearts. ” What upsets her the most is that her son has lost the ability to make carefree choices. She states, “This was the time in his life when he was supposed to spread his wings and soar with them, not have them clipped.” With your help, we can give this proud family a chance to unclip those wings.
Your donation can help us share a bit of happiness, hope, and comfort in the lives of Blaze and families like his. Please consider a donation to Five Fathers Children’s Charity.