The Heartbreak of Pediatric Cancer: Parents Share their Pictures and Stories

Thomas Hearne: A boy with a legacy of courage

A hard-fought battle does not always end in triumph. Thomas Hearne’s family learned the heartbreak of pediatric cancer when they lost their son to a rare form of medulloblastoma brain cancer called medullomyoblastoma. Shortly after his eighth birthday, Thomas began experiencing blurry vision and dizziness, and his symptoms quickly worsened from there. Doctors eventually discovered his brain cancer, but found it had also metastasized to his central nervous system. This, sadly, caused him to have seizures in reaction to his chemotherapy treatments.

By that point, the goal was simply to prolong Thomas’ life and make him comfortable for as long as possible. He was discharged from the hospital in March, 2009, and passed away a week later. The end of Thomas’ life was bittersweet for everyone, but he remained cheerful even as his health declined. He leaves behind a legacy of courage and love for his family, who miss him every day.

Photo: Thomas Hearne