A little over a year ago, Hayes was in the heart of his first round of chemo. I was starting to realize what a depressing place that the cancer unit could be. Parents kind of stuck to themselves in sadness and understandably, there wasn’t a lot of socializing so it was an extremely isolating place. One morning I went out to get my everyday breakfast of a cafeteria chocolate muffin and a banana when I noticed a young, worried looking couple, the Yearsleys. I struck up a conversation and found out that their sweet baby boy, Cohen had just been diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma. Cohen was about a week older than Hayes and I would peak in at him, in his hospital crib and be blown away by how much he reminded me of Hayes. He had a happy spirit and just wanted to play like a regular baby boy.
I often wondered if Hayes and Cohen would ever have the opportunity to meet and play during treatment, but they never got the chance. Hayes was in isolation so much that really, he couldn’t be around other kids very often.
Recently, the Yearsleys got the same news that Steve and I received about Hayes. That there was nothing the doctors could do for Cohen and that he would go home and live out the remainder of his days with his family. I was heart broken for them. It opened up fresh wounds from what we had just been through with Hayes and I was desperate to help them. I knew their dream was to get Cohen to the beach. We had been so blessed to experience California with Hayes and so I knew how healing being together as a family and breathing in the ocean air can be. In his parents words, “There is a mural of two boys playing on the beach at Primary Children’s on the 4th floor. Coey and I have gone past this a million times during his cancer battle. I’ve lost count the times he has made me stop just to look at this picture. I made a promise to him that I would get him to the beach. Throughout all the ups and downs of his treatment we have passed this mural and I’ve held onto this promise I made to him. A week ago I knew it would take a miracle to get him to the beach. I was in the hospital with Coey and I sobbed all night at the thought that I might not be able to keep my promise to him.”
Well, thanks to so many amazing people, along with the monetary help of the HayesArmy, the Yearsleys were able to go to the beach and let Cohen feel the water on his feet and squish the sand in his toes. I could not be happier for them. Thank you all for your help in allowing us to fulfill their dreams of taking their family to the beach! What a beautiful gift!
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.” -Stuart Scott