Death of a Superhero

A Family's Story about Courage, Bravery and the Defining Moments of LOVE

Our sweet, lil' baby love lost his battle to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. We fought long, hard and very aggressively for 2.5 years, only to have his cancer come back for the fourth time to finally take his life. He was only 3 years old.

This entire blog is about Hunter's amazing journey. It's about his life and his love......his determination and his courage.......his absolutely, brilliant personality, and the affect he's had on people all over the world.

He's left an unimaginable footprint on this earth and has changed the lives of thousands of individuals. People who didn't realize how precious life was, now live it with extreme gratefulness. People who took every minute they get to spend with their children for granted, now savor every last second. And people who weren't quite sure what love is all about, now love deeper, love stronger and love with every ounce of their soul.

People all around the world have shared their love, their well wishes, their prayers and their inspiration, and we could have NEVER achieved as much as we did without them. We are humbled by their generosity & their true friendships & are forever grateful for every last person that has come into our lives through our experience with Hunter. He was our precious baby love who we loved and cherished with all our hearts and we are forever crushed and terribly, broken-hearted.

Dance in the clouds baby cakes. Mom & dad are watching proudly & you will remain so very close to our hearts for all of eternity.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Words cannot even begin to express........

Hunter recovering from his bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap this last Monday.

I probably shouldn’t write right now. I’m feeling a little scattered and emotional at the moment, but I will try to be as clear as possible. Any woman who has a child, or is expecting or gets a monthly monster knows where I’m at right now.

I just received a letter that was meant to bring a smile to my face. It did indeed bring a smile, however it also brought a serious flow of tears that are still running lightly down my face as I type.

My cherished, precious little boy is sick, and I sometimes forget how serious it is. In the midst of thinking positive, I sometimes put things on the back burner - things that I would rather not spend my time thinking about. I’m reminded often by letters from other people exactly how difficult this battle is for a parent. It’s difficult, it’s gut wrenching, it’s so, so sad and heartbreaking and something I hope you all never have to face.

I hope Mary doesn’t mind, but I’ve posted her letter to me.

Hello Lenore, Zen and Hunter

You don’t know me, we’ve never met. I know the rest of your family. Your mom and dad, who are two of the most generous, loving people I have ever known. And also your brothers and sister, niece and nephew. Your son is my son Sammy’s (3rd?) cousin. I only recently heard of the extent of Hunter’s struggles at a gathering for Erin. I’m very sorry for what you all have been through and what is yet to come. Being the parent of a “healthy” child is a daily roller coaster. To think of all the challenges you have faced and survived is unimaginable. I can only empathize with what you will do to make sure your child is safe and loved and cared for. I have read what has become your daily routine and felt like I was there because of the emotion in your writing. The highs and lows of things that are normally taken for granted have become major milestones. Hunter is an amazing child, as I’m sure you’re well aware.

Being a parent is the greatest, most unexpected gift. But it is all encompassing. So I’ve wanted to do something for myself lately, to make me feel better. It seems every time I go to do anything it’s for Sam or about him. I wanted to be selfish and do something just for me. After reading your journal, I realize the thing I would like most to do is for you and/or Hunter. It seems absurd to send you money, like that would be a cure and no amount would seem large enough. I didn’t want to make a donation to the disease center, it feels impersonal. That being said, enclosed is a gift. I’d like you to use it for something that will make you or Hunter smile for even just 1 minute. Be it flowers or a snuggly teddy bear to comfort him or a (non-hospital) meal, anything you choose, just a small spot of joy. I hope you don’t find this suggestion offensive but taken as it was meant, with best intentions. It doesn’t seem like enough, I wish I could offer more than this and my support. Please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I have sent an email to my friends and family to ask for them to do the same.

You are all truly admirable people.

Love and best regards,
Mary (Hammaker)
a.k.a Sam’s Mom


I’ve been overwhelmed by so many amazing emotions over the last 3 months. Emotions that I welcome with open arms. I’m scared to death. I’m beyond appreciative. I’m happy. I’m sad. I’m forever grateful, bewildered, overjoyed…….all sorts on a daily basis. I’m never going to take my childs life for granted. I love my husband tremendously and all that he is and look at him every day with amazement. I couldn’t imagine a more incredible or compatible partner. He makes us feel extremely safe and loved. My son has been extremely heroic and courageous and I’ve already learned valuable life lessons from him in the short time he’s been in our lives. I truly love every last person who has entered into our lives and those that were already so close who have endured our pain and sadness and great accomplishments every step of the way.

Thank you to all of you. We’ve never realized how much love it would take to get through something like this. Every time we think we are ok – something else rears its feared and ugly head. So scary that something as small as a common cold could jeopardize Hunter’s life. And we are so not even close to not ever having to worry. Everyone’s thoughts, prayers, positive energy and generosity has enabled us to continue smiling in Hunter’s face every time we are frightened. They allowed us to hold our heads up as we walk and forced us to think everything’s going to be ok. They’ve given us hope and amazingly pleasant thoughts when we’ve desperately needed them most, and they opened up life and friendship and kindness like we’ve never experienced before.

I bow down to each and every one of you for helping my family survive and carry a piece of you with me every day. That’s truly been the strength I needed.

Goodnight and sweet, sweet dreams.


Anonymous said...

You're right, sometimes words cannot express, but please know our words of hope are still with you. We continue to think of you and Hunter, rejoice with his progress and continue to pray for his continued healing. We know from John 1:1 that Jesus is the living Word and that he speaks love, health, and healing into our lives. That is what we have believed and continue to believe for Hunter. I know that one of these days when we come to California to visit Luis & Katherine we will see or hear of Hunter running and playing with his friends and this terrible time will only be a memory.
Wyman & Mary Phetteplace

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely amazing. I love you! Jennifer