Tumor in the Femur

Because it's fun to say and we need to say fun things.


Irene Veldstra

CCA, or Children’s Cancer Association, is a fabulous non-profit that helps kids with cancer and in recovery a little more pleasant by having activities both in and outside of the hospital. A new program this summer for teens and young adults, doing outdoor activities, having other teens who are going through the same things and being able to talk to peers about their struggles while doing fun things. Atticus wasn’t able to participate in a few activities because hospital stays or sickness conflicted with scheduling. He did, however, participate in the photography one when he was recovering from surgery. Check out the video - he’s not usually a chatty one, but they used his photos in the video too!

I loved hearing the kids talk about how people say “you are so strong!” but really, do they have a choice? I have frequently found that as well when people have told me I am so strong to be by Atticus’ side throughout this ordeal. But do I have a choice? I mean, as they point out, we do. But it’s still really, really hard to be strong. Yes, it’s a choice, and I have taken and accepted this choice freely, because the alternative seems incomprehensible.

They sent us Atticus’ photos from that day, and here are a few of my favourites, but it was so hard to choose!

Which one do you like best?


Irene Veldstra
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The food cravings are strong with this one. Sometimes we tease Atticus that it's worse than a pregnant woman's cravings, with sending me or Anneka out at all hours to hunt for a very specific food for him! Of course, having cancer and going through chemo is pretty heinous so of course we tend to spoil him a little more and try to make what is a miserable experience just a little happier. 

What makes Atticus happy, you asked? What is great therapy for him during these miserable inpatient chemotherapy days? Big piles of meat, that's what. 

We have our Amazon Wish List, which is currently updated with foods and restaurant gift cards. 

 Checking out the menu but got a happy surprise visit from a cute dog! 

Checking out the menu but got a happy surprise visit from a cute dog! 

Russell Street BBQ is fairly close to the hospital, I was able to walk there easily and pick up his food. So now he has discovered how delicious smoked brisket is and other scrumptious southern food... now I'm really in trouble! 

Dickey's also makes some pretty great brisket and ribs, and I can get them by the pound and freeze them in meal sizes for quick cravings! Gift cards to Dickeys are available on Amazon

 Dickeys. YUM dickeys.com

Dickeys. YUM dickeys.com


This is where you all come in... so many of you ask how you can help, and this is a pretty big way you can make Atticus' life a little bit better, happier, and his tummy fuller. Go on to our Amazon wish list and send a digital gift card, or a Russell Street BBQ gift card for when he's in the hospital! 

Atticus also has a Paypal that you can send money to that he can use to buy more games on his laptop for hospital times, or to turn into treats for himself as well. 




Irene Veldstra

One of Atticus' biggest goals was to make it to 8th grade graduation and his care team made sure it happened! 

His surgery was May 22, his surgeon cleared him for chemo June 1, his graduation was June 7, and the Randall team scheduled him for his chemo at 9am on June 9! We are so grateful for our team and the research that shows how important life events are to sick kids and making sure they are still able to take part in them. 

At school, 8th grade graduation is in the evening, and the 7th graders set it up, serve the food, decorate. It's always a lovely evening with remembering and honoring the eighth graders. Then, on the last day of school, there is the Rose Ceremony, the first graders honor the eighth graders by giving them a rose. 

Here are the photos from the graduation on the evening of June 7. 

 Photo by Wendy

Photo by Wendy

Rose Ceremony on last day of school, as told and photographed by Krista: 

It was such a treat to see Atticus at graduation! I was really overcome with emotion. I wish him so much good health and strength. And you too, mama. I can’t imagine the extent of the strength your life requires. I wish you all of it.

I wanted to tell you a couple things I saw between Atticus and his 1st grade buddies, particularly little blonde Julian. The two buddies approached Atticus when both first grade classes were invited to join 8th graders after the 8th grade group photo. I asked them if the boys wanted a photo with their buddy and they said they did. They leaned in for the photo and I took a picture. Then Julian looks at Atticus and gives the thumbs-up sign. Atticus looked over at him and put his thumb up too. I thought it was such a sign of support, optimism, and hope between those boys. So positive and I just about melted.

Then as I was standing there, Julian looked at Atticus a long time and says, “It must be hard.” Atticus quietly looked at him and Julian says, “It must be hard to be sick.” Atticus nodded and smiled. I think he might have appreciated Julian’s honesty and empathy. It was such a sweet moment.

A bit later, I saw another amazing thing. Maybe you saw it too. I watched Julian run, full-speed, into Atticus’ arms for a big bear hug. I have thought of that hug many times in the past 24 hours. It was a big, long, uninhibited, tight squeeze. I was so very touched by that loving enthusiasm directed at your son.

I felt like the ceremony was for everyone, of course, but it was especially for Atticus. No question, he was the star that day. I’m not certain he knew it, but I know it to be true.
 Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell Studio