LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — It was a heartwarming night for families in Louisville affected by childhood cancer. At Gilda’s Club, children and families were able to meet in person for the first time in 15 months.
Glen Bayne said he was looking forward to summer camp at Gilda’s Club, but the pandemic kept many friends apart.
“I had to play alone 24/7,” said Bayne, who was back at Gilda’s Club on Monday night.
“Basically, it’s a great organization for kids who know people who had cancer,” said the 9-year-old, who knows that journey firsthand. “I had a little bit of cancer before I turned 2.”
“Just before his second birthday, he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a tumor, and it was stage 4,” said Glen’s mother, Catie.
She said Glen has had chemo, radiation, several surgeries and still has some side effects. But being back with friends – in person – gives her son new energy.
“It’s great,” she said. “He just loosens up, gets lighter, has a great time. It’s really good for him to see other kids who have similar situations.”
Gilda’s Club is a supportive community for cancer patients and their families.
“The symptoms we treat…anxiety, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, depression…those symptoms can affect the whole family,” says president and CEO Karen Morrison.
It was bittersweet to see other families after more than a year.
“It’s also sad because there are some families whose children aren’t here this year, who didn’t survive the year,” Catie said. “Not because of COVID, but because of cancer.”
But with the grief come the celebrations of others.
“My 6-year-old cancer-free (anniversary) is a little past my birthday, in 10 or 20 days,” Glen said.
“He’s in good health and happy, and that’s all we can ask for,” Catie said.
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