Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – Micah Ahern

Micah-Fly-High

We are so honored to have met Micah and his family when they attended the Kidd’s Kids trip in 2015 when Micah was just 6 years old.  On the last day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month we are sharing Micah’s story as told by his dad, Maurice Ahern.

Micah was one year old when we found out he had cancer. We were living in China at the time when we noticed unusual symptoms.  Whenever he would get hot, half of his face and chest would turn red while the other half would remain pale.  We knew something wasn’t right and scheduled him to be seen by a neurologist in Thailand.  After an MRI, it was discovered he had a tumor along his spine in his back/chest area.  The diagnosis was neuroblastoma, a solid tumor cancer found mostly in children.  We immediately moved back to the states to Orlando where he would have surgery performed to remove it

The diagnosis drastically changed our lives! As was mentioned, we had to immediately move to receive treatment.  In the beginning, we were living in a borrowed house and using a borrowed car.  Nothing was the same—friends, community, job.  Thankfully, the community we were living in embraced and loved on our family!

After his surgery, he would receive scans and bone marrow biopsies to monitor the cancer. When it was time for results, there was always initial anxiety, and questions like, “Is the cancer back or has it progressed?”  Sometimes the results would be positive and sometimes negative.

I can remember vividly the day we went to the hospital in Orlando to thank the doctors and say goodbye.  I had accepted a job in Texas and Micah’s cancer was in a good state.  When we saw his oncologist, he immediately had us go to a room and revealed to us that a recent biopsy came back not favorable.  We were in shock!  Now we were headed to another place, Fort Worth, to meet new doctors and start a whole new treatment.

This is just a small glimpse of the roller coaster many families with childhood cancer face.  Micah fought neuroblastoma for six years.  Many of those days had unexpected trips to the ER, admissions to the hospitals, trips out of town for treatment, and more.  There were trips canceled and holidays in the hospital.   Planning is impossible!

During his almost six years of neuroblastoma, Micah had several surgeries, and received various chemotherapies, radiation treatments, and transplants.

Childhood cancer sucks!  It is miserable as a parent watching your child suffer day in and day out.  Cancer effects everyone in the family—not just the child, but the parents, and the siblings. One thing we learned early on was to “Embrace the Suck” and to enjoy each day we had.   Organizations like Kidd’s Kids and others were great escapes for the whole family, and I would recommend them to anyone!

We attended Kidd’s Kids in 2015 and we will never forget it!  From the time we arrived at the airport, our whole family was embraced and made to feel special.  The accommodations at Disney were amazing!  We stayed at a nice resort and received VIP treatment.  The kids didn’t have to wait in lines and met numerous cast members.

One special moment was seeing J-Si interacting not just with Micah, but also his siblings.  He got down on their level and played with them and I can still remember to this day the joy they had on their faces!

I started Gold Ribbon Confections, a bakery, in 2017, to honor the passing of my son and to give back to organizations like Kidd’s Kids.  Having experienced firsthand their value, I wanted to make sure others would be able to experience the joys we had as family.  In September 2020, we opened Grounds and Gold, a coffee shop, bakery, and café. Like Gold Ribbon, this business helps raise awareness and carry on the joy that so many experienced who knew Micah.

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