The day that changed our lives forever: February 17, 2018.

That morning, at 4 o’clock to be exact, we received a phone call from Children’s Hospital Colorado. They told us Jacob needed to come in as soon as possible. We rushed to the hospital unsure of what was going to happen. Within two hours, Jacob was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Our thoughts overwhelmed us as we quickly found ourselves in a dark hole. The term “cancer” carries weight, and that weight crushed us.

We began treatment as soon as we could. By March, Jacob was in remission. The only downfall: he was placed in the high-risk group, which meant more intense treatments.

No parent raises their child knowing they will one day have to administer chemotherapy medicine nightly; they’re just forced to learn like we did. Our family was learning to adjust that year. We have four kids: Breanna, Lukas, Jacob, and Noah. Not only were we teaching Jacob about his cancer, we had to explain this complex disease to three other children. While Jacob was in the hospital, his three siblings stayed with family members. They adjusted to a new life, knowing that their brother was extremely ill.

The amount of support we received over those first few months made us speechless. The first year of his cancer, we participated in many events: Superhero Day by Love Your Melon, Make-A-Wish, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night. These events gave us hope and strength, and it put a smile on Jacob’s face through his battle. Jacob’s wish to visit Micke Mouse in Disney World was granted by Make-A-Wish. He loved every second of it, and that’s when we knew our little boy was going to be okay. He was happy, and it was a moment when cancer wasn’t consuming our thoughts.

By his one-year post-diagnosis, Jacob was adjusted to his new normal of daily medications, hospital trips, caution playing due to his port, and his newly shaved bald head. We were so happy to have our baby boy home and our family reunited for more than just a few weeks. His smile returned and his hair was beginning to grow back. It gave us a new hope that our baby was coming back to us.

We were lucky, until March 2019. Jacob became sick again and ended up being hospitalized due to mucus and fluid buildup in his lungs. Jacob needed three immunoglobulin infusions. Unfortunately, these infusions cost about $10,000 each. We were fortunate enough to have an army of supporters behind us to help us through these stressful times. He recovered and returned home again.

People think of cancer as a burden, but our family is stronger because of it. Our lives are forever changed as we were forced to adjust to our new normal. Thanks to our many supporters, friends, and family members, Jacob has been doing amazing.

This year, Jacob started kindergarten and will be turning 6 years old. His life has a new meaning and we are blessed with his smile every day. He still struggles with cancer: weekly chemotherapy treatments at the hospital, mood swings, and being immunocompromised. That doesn’t stop him from having a happy childhood, even if it is a little different from normal. We will never go back to the way things were before his diagnosis because Jacob will be tested for the rest of his life to make sure he doesn’t relapse. He and we will always have that worry, but that concern is overpowered by the gratefulness we have for his strength through this battle.