Above + Beyond Cancer recently received this beautiful essay written by a young boy who’s father is currently being treated for cancer. It left us in tears, but with lots of hope and love for this young man and his family. We hope you feel the same way. We urge you to leave encouraging comments for the family below! We have changed the names to protect the privacy of those involved in the story.

For this empathy paper I am not going to write about trying to learn empathy by pretending to be blind or mute. I am going to write about my parents.

Let’s start with my mom. My mom’s sister died early in March. We had to go to the funeral. For the first time, I saw a casket. To my mom, it was heartbreaking. But for me, it was weird. It was the first time I saw my Mom really really cry and it made me cry inside. I just kept hugging her and telling her I was so sorry.

Let’s talk about my Dad. Dad has colon cancer. It has affected my whole family. When we were in Florida for Thanksgiving break at the Daytona Beach speedway for a car show, he said he didn’t feel well and wanted to sit down. Then he passed out. My Dad and Mom already knew he had cancer, but my brother and I didn’t know what was happening. When he was in the hospital for two days, my brother and I were so scared and had no clue what was going on. Before Thanksgiving, we just knew they were going to different doctors and having a lot of tests done.

Then my Dad and Mom sat us at the kitchen table and said it was colon cancer. I laughed and said “you have butt cancer”? My Mom stopped crying and we all laughed. My Dad promised us he wasn’t going anywhere and that he would beat this.

He started treatments to kill the cancer and to make him better. I know he doesn’t feel good, is always tired, and I can see when he in pain, but I also see him still coaching my basketball games, going to work and taking care of his responsibilities. That is the perseverance and the indomitable spirit we talk about in Taekwondo.

My Dad has had to be in the hospital twice again, and he passed out again and broke four bones in his face. We took turns camping out in his room with him and spending the night. It’s scary to see him hooked up to different machines and tubes, but he will get better. He will have surgery in about a month, and then chemo again. I hope he doesn’t have to sleep with the chemo pouch again because then it is hard to cuddle with him at night. I help keep him warm when he gets the chills really bad.

So in the last several months, my family has been through a lot of things. And through this, I think I have learned more about empathy than I ever could by pretending to be blind or in a wheelchair for a day. I also know cancer won’t beat my Dad. He’s way too tough.


3 Responses to “Real Empathy”

  1. Kim

    What a wonderful and caring young man you are! Your family is fortunate to have someone who is so compassionate to care for them. I am sorry your family has to go through so much. I am so glad you have each other. Sometimes that’s all we can do – let them know how much we love them. Stay strong, but also remember you don’t always have to be the brave one. It works best in a family to take turns. Let others take care of you too. You see – that makes them feel better.

    • Kaye

      What a touching essay by such a caring son for his father. Our thoughts and prayers will be with this family as they go through this difficult time of their lives. God Bless all of you.

  2. Lydia

    So well written and so very touching! Keep staying strong for your dad and your family! My Sister in law has Butt Cancer too – and it sucks! Thank you for sharing.


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