Baby Wesson Loses His Courageous Fight
I'm sitting in front of my computer screen in my office trying to formulate the words and sentences that tell you how I'm feeling. This is tough to write about because it's personal, and it's something I care a great deal about.
When you talk about cancer with others, it's easy to feel somewhat detached from it. When it hits your family, it gets harder to talk about. When that family member dies from cancer, it leaves you numb. Numb is how I'm feeling today.
Cancer did hit our Results Radio family this week. Not once, but twice. Bryan Bjerke on our morning show, The Big Breakfast, revealed earlier in the week he has prostate cancer. Bryan is a cancer survivor and is optimistic about beating it again. We're optimistic with him.
One of our other family members wasn't so fortunate. Wesson Littau died yesterday. He is part of our family because his aunt, Dawn Andel is an account executive at Results Radio. Baby Wesson was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia last November. He was just months old. I remember hugging Dawn who was crying. Devastated. Telling her we were praying for him, that he was being treated at a place where miracles happen and that everything would be ok.
Baby Wesson's mother wrote on his Caring Bridge website, "Wesson was born August 1st, 2011 -- a healthy 6 lb 8 oz blue eyed boy. He checked out well after birth and also at his 2 month well child visit."
"We started noticing a change in our baby boy after about 8 weeks. I had began to get the sensation that something wasn't quite right. He always seemed fussy, tired and restless. He rarely napped and when he woke up he would be furious.He never slept longer than an hour during the night -- sometimes he'd be up every fifteen minutes. His appetite was never great and it continued to get worse as he grew older. I considered the idea that he may have a lactose intolerance and this was making him fussy -- I diagnosed him as being "colicky". I even considered that he could be teething early, or that he just seemed like a 'difficult' baby because his big brother Keegan was always so easy. All of these answers seemed reasonable."
This last spring, during our radiothon for Children's Miracle Network and Sanford Children's Hospital, it was especially tough to talk about baby Wesson on the air. Even though we were optimistic for him, I still fought back the lump in my throat as some tears ran down my cheeks. This was when it hit home. When you talk about it. It's tough to talk about, because I think all of us are scared and want to somehow diminish the enormity of it all.
Baby Wesson did not respond to two rounds of chemotherapy at Sanford Children's Hospital. He was then taken to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. It is a world-renown hospital. It's doctors have snatched more than one child off of death's doorstep. JD Collins and I have both visited St. Jude's and have seen the miracles. We have also seen the miracles performed at Sanford Children's Hospital. So when Wesson didn't respond at Sanford, our concern grew even more considerably.
At St. Jude's, doctors performed a mismatched haploidentical stem cell transplant. It is a high risk aggressive form of transplant, but it was one of the few options left in order to rid him of his cancer. To my knowledge, it was the first one performed on a baby.
Wesson fought and continued to fight through circumstances that would have made most of us give up long ago. Wesson was tough. He had grit. Most of all, he had courage and demonstrated it each day of his short life to every one who knew him.
It was written on his Caring Bridge page, September 26, 2012 5:05pm. " Our sweet Wesson earned his angel wings today after a tough and courageous battle. Sweet boy you are finally free. Mommy, daddy and big brother cannot wait to reunite with you one day."
Wesson's death won't be in vain. I refuse to believe it was. Wesson's death will help eventually find a cure for children's cancer. Also, untold many of you took action and gave what you had during our many radiothons to help find that cure. You, the untold many, are our heroes and we remain eternally grateful to you.
Abraham Lincoln said it best, "Never does a man stand so tall as when he stoops to help a child."
Baby Wesson's death leaves a void in all of our lives. A void that's immeasurable for those closest to him. When we lose someone, it diminishes all of us.
There will be a memorial service and celebration of Wesson's life at 10:00am on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at Winner National Guard Armory. Dress attire for the celebration is casual and colorful. A lunch will be served at St. Mary's Hall following the burial at the Winner cemetary. In lieu of flowers, the family would like memorials directed to the St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.