A Note of Encouragement from a Cancer Mom
Written by Sarah Mersdorf-Foreman, Levi’s mom

The other day, I took on the task of cleaning out the hallway medicine/medical supply closet (aka the family-owned pharmacy).

This froze me.



This is the type of needle that was used weekly to access Levi’s port for his chemotherapy, TPN (total parenteral nutrition), and other medications he needed throughout treatment for atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT). His port was accessed about 60 times.

He was just 6 years old.



As I stared at this seemingly small medical device, I began to think how far we have come.

We were told Levi would likely go deaf. After treatment, his hearing loss was mild in one ear.

We were told that he would probably need help growing. He is now just three inches shy of being taller than me at 12 years old.

We were cautioned that his balance could be a big concern. He rides his hoverboard like a pro. Much better than I can.

Six years ago, in early 2015, we were in the middle of 6 weeks of radiation, on top of the most violent chemotherapy protocol children receive.

I was in a dark place. I was scared. I cried simply walking into the hospital. He was a skeleton of a child.

I paint this picture not for pity, but for encouragement.

In the worst time of my life, I could not imagine where we are now would even be possible.



We have survived almost a full year of remote learning. I have watched Levi and his siblings grow, read, and learn in a capacity I haven’t before.


We are looking at adventures and creating experiences that will enrich our lives. We have gone from surviving to thriving! Levi’s cancer diagnosis and treatment made us who we are. It gave me a voice of advocacy that had not been used.

Wherever you are, whatever you are facing, KEEP GOING! ❤️🌈