There are dads, and then there are cancer dads.
Cancer dads have a special kind of strength. These are the parents who crack jokes at just the right moment, drive to the hospital in the middle of the night, rally the family’s morale and make every moment of a busy day count.
To celebrate these dads on Father’s Day, we partnered with Momcology to ask a group of cancer caregivers about the cancer dad in their child’s life. Read the caregivers’ messages to cancer dads below.
The Perfect Balance
“My husband has always been my perfect balance. It was no different when our son was diagnosed. As I sat in my devastation and hopelessness, he came in with his realism and calmness. I am definitely not the fun parent. That’s all my husband. Through all of this he always makes sure to do all the fun things with the kids. He takes a situation in which we can’t do something and or go somewhere, and he makes it fun.” – Kristy
“My husband is my support and balance. He is strong when I’m not and I’m strong when he’s not. He’s patient when I lose mine and I have patience when he’s lacking. We worry about totally opposite things and our separate strengths just work so well together.” – Heather
“I was pregnant when our son was diagnosed so my husband really stepped in and was involved in his care when I couldn’t be. He woke up at all hours to drive him to the hospital for fevers and planned fun activities to do together at the hospital.” - Sarah
“I have always handled medical for all my kids. All three times our daughter went in for a craniotomy, he gently gook the pen from my hand and signed the medical forms. I have no doubt he knew I couldn't do it so he took a deep breath and put the pen to paper.” - Heather
“When Alex was first diagnosed and we were home from the hospital, and before he got his port, his dad was very good at flushing his PICC line. My younger son (who was 7 at the time) had fallen off the playground equipment during school recess and broke his elbow and needed two surgeries right around the same time as Alex’s diagnosis. His dad’s help at this particular time was very helpful.” - Julie
“My husband always ran the middle of the night fever spike trips to the ER with my son while I stayed home with my toddler daughter. There were many of these nights for my son. He was always so calm and reassuring with Matthew on those long and cold drives into Minneapolis. Somehow he could turn an exhausting experience into bonding time between the two of them. Even when they would return home at 3 or 4 a.m. after labs, he handled it with steadfast grace and duty. They both did. I did the everyday with my son, and he always took those night shifts.” – Kim
Above and Beyond
“My husband has been amazing through it all these last eight years and reaffirmed why I married him and why I am so in love with him. He would work all day, drive two to three hours in rush hour to come see me and the kids at the hospital for 15-20 minutes and then drive back home and do it all again the next day. He never got frustrated with me when I was exhausted and at my wits end and treating him badly. He just loved me even harder.” – Sue
“Luca always wanted to roam the halls. Always. Tony would walk for hours in circles around the unit...never mattered the hour or for how long.” - Cat
“Since our son's diagnoses, our marriage has gotten so much stronger. He is my rock, encouraging, balancing, gives me strength when I feel I don't any left. He knows when I need a break and steps in even more and I do the same for him. We have learned through this experience to enjoy the little things more, which has made our time together more special. He is in the military and is gone here and there quite a bit. So it's always so nice when we come back together as a family. I know he has had his own struggles with being gone so much but he works so hard to make sure we know he is here in any way he can be.” Alli
A Message to Cancer Dads
To cancer dads – we may not see your struggle as clearly, and you may hold a lot inside. But we see what you do for your families, and we’re so grateful for you. Happy Father’s Day.
“I think cancer dads need to know they are needed, loved and appreciated. While mom is often the go-to parent, it does not negate the importance of what our children’s dads do. Walking the floors of the hospital, being steadfast in faith, working when work seems inconsequential, being not the voice of reason but that of ‘beat it against all odds’ ... and through it all being the daddy their kiddos see as their hero. For 1000 little reasons.” - Cat
Momcology, in partnership with Children’s Cancer Research Fund, is working to create meaningful content that raises awareness about what families face while going through childhood cancer. By combining CCRF’s authentic storytelling capabilities with the many voices and experiences from within the Momcology network, we are eager to provide a new platform to amplify caregivers’ voices to the public to both accelerate research and raise awareness. Visit Momcology to learn more and join their community.
Your story of childhood cancer is powerful – it can raise awareness for what is needed in the world of childhood cancer research and even encouraging fundraising for vital research projects. See how your story can make an impact by filling out our Share Your Story form.