A mother's emotional account detailing how childhood cancer affects siblings and entire families has touched people across the world.
Kaitlin Burge posted a photo earlier this month showing her 5-year-old daughter supporting her 4-year-old brother, Beckett, as he dealt with the effects of chemotherapy.
One thing they don’t tell you about childhood cancer is that it affects the entire family," Burge wrote in a Sept. 3 post accompanying the photos on the "Beckett Strong" Facebook page. "You always hear about the financial and medical struggles, but how often do you hear about the struggles families with other children face?
The Texas mother of two admitted that she knew it may be hard for some to look at the photos and read what she had to say. As of Monday, the post has been shared more than 29,000 times and there are thousands of comments.
She went on to detail how her children went from "playing in school and at home together to sitting in a cold hospital room together" when Beckett was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in April 2018. It is the most common form of leukemia in children, accounting for about 30% of all childhood cancer, according to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.
Burge, from Princeton, Texas, has been posting updates about Beckett's cancer battle since early 2018, but it was her Sept. 3 post, and the photos she shared with it, that took off online and clearly hit home for many people.
In the now-viral post, she also shared how her daughter watched Beckett struggle to walk and play after he was released from the hospital after his initial diagnosis and treatment. "The lively, energetic, and outgoing little brother she once knew was now a quiet, sick, and very sleepy little boy. He never wanted to play. She didn’t understand how he was able to walk before this, but now he can’t even stand unassisted," Burge wrote.
And to those asking why the family would have their daughter see their son's health struggles close-up at such a young age, Burge explained that children "need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill."
"The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation. She spent a fair amount of time, by his side in the bathroom, while he got sick. She stuck by him. She supported him and she took care of him, regardless of the situation. To this day, they are closer. She always takes care of him," Burge wrote. "Vomiting between play sessions. Waking up to throw up. Standing by her brothers side and rubbing his back while he gets sick. Going from 30 lbs to 20 lbs. This is childhood cancer. Take it or leave it."