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Special Letter From Mother Who Lost Her Son To Cancer

Tanya Nalley | March 30, 2016

Dear GON,

In February of 2014 you published this picture (at right) of my son Noah, who was 13 when the picture was taken. He had taken a 3-point buck the day before he took the coyote. If it’s ok I would like to share with you the rest of Noah’s story.

In July 2014, after several months of having shoulder pain that we thought was a sports-related injury, we were devastated when we were given the diagnoses that Noah had cancer. He had a rare soft tissue sarcoma of the connective tissue. The cancer was around his spine and in a couple of his ribs. Very few children have been given this diagnoses and especially around the spine.

Everything moved at lightening speed.  As soon as the tumor was spotted at our local hospital, he was at Scottish Rite and a neurologist was doing a biopsy. Because of the location of the tumor, his pain was very hard to control. So he was in the hospital almost until the biopsy came back.

The day he was scheduled for port placement was the day the biopsy came back, and he received the diagnosis of epithelioid sarcoma. This was what the doctors warned us about and not what we wanted to hear.

Noah assured us that he was going to beat it, and we knew he could. He endured five rounds of harsh inpatient chemo. He also had several inpatient stays for infections and such from depleted white blood cells and a weakened immune system. Unfortunately the tumor grew during chemo.

Next came several months of daily radiation. During radiation, he felt much better and was actually doing things he had not done in months. We all thought remission would be the next words we would hear. Sadly, we were very wrong.

The cancer had metastasized to his lungs. This was the most devastating news we had heard yet. The doctors said they were sorry and that there was nothing left they could do. We were given a time frame of three to six months. Sadly, we only had three weeks with our sweet boy. He bravely stepped out of this world on April 9, 2015.

We never realized that the weekend he harvested the buck and coyote would be the last weekend he would ever hunt. Noah was such a giving and loving child, and his only wish was to make people smile. He gave way more than he took.

Our goal now is to encourage parents to get outdoors with their children, whether it be hunting, camping, geocaching, hiking, whatever; just spend time outside with your kids. Be in the moment, soak it in, don’t worry if they wiggle and ask questions. They are only little once, so enjoy it, and by all means, take lots of pictures!

Thank you so much for publishing Noah’s picture. You certainly made us all smile, and his stepdad and I continue to smile every single time we see it. Thank you so much for encouraging families to enjoy the outdoors with their little ones!

Tanya Nalley, Bremen

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much to Tanya for sharing your story. While we so appreciate your encouraging words about getting our kids into the outdoors and soaking up that precious time, our prayers are with you.

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