Below is a letter from the mom and dad of Jimmy Fowkes. Jimmy is an amazing 17 year old young man that has been dealing with a brain cancer diagnosis since 2006. Jimmy’s sister Molly, mom Margo and dad Dan have been deeply involved with the foundation since his diagnosis. He is an inspiration and a true hero to staffers at LIVESTRONG. Below is a letter from Jimmy’s parents about some recent good news.
?Cancer should never be allowed to get in the way of your dreams? — Doug Ulman, President/CEO, Lance Armstrong Foundation
On a dark, cold, rainy afternoon, four days after Jimmy?s emergency craniotomy on January 12, 2006, we met with the hospital-assigned oncologist. It was a grim meeting, made all the worse by the oncologist?s blithe delivery of the devastating side effects that would result from the treatment necessary to save Jimmy?s life. ?When I?m done treating Jimmy, there will be severe disabilities ? he will be very hard of hearing or deaf, likely sterile and most definitely experience a significant drop in cognitive function and IQ.? Our voices shaking and lips quivering, we asked if all these things would be permanent. She said they would. Very much at a loss for words, nor processing the ones we had just heard, one or both of us replied ?But, he can recover, right? He has plans, things he wants to do, he wants to go to Stanford ?.? With an expressionless face, she said ?I?m sorry, but high school is going to be very, very difficult for him, and college will be out of the question. Not only will he not be able to go to college, you will likely be taking care of him for the rest of his life.?
Her words were a gift (not that we realized it at the time, of course). They inspired us to find another oncologist immediately but they also inspired us to make each other and Jimmy a promise ? that no matter what, we would do everything humanly possible to keep cancer from ruining his dreams.
Almost four years later, after more hard work than we knew anyone was capable of, countless obstacles overcome and surpassing many professionals? expectations … at 3:14 PM on Friday December 11th, Jimmy got an email letter from Richard Shaw, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Stanford University, congratulating Jimmy and offering him admission to Stanford?s class of 2014.
As my friend Alicia, mother of Ben, a five-year survivor of recurrent medulloblastoma, once said: ?This journey is so gut-wrenchingly hard and the lessons are many ? good and bad. In the end, we know what matters ? we mourn our losses and all that our kids have to go through, we stand in amazement as they overcome so much, we cry and we laugh, we dream different dreams and we pray for yet another anniversary.?
Thank you for supporting Jimmy and believing in him as he pursues his dreams.
Margo & Dan Fowkes