Childhood Cancer Takes Local Boy On A Worldwide Fight - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Childhood Cancer Takes Local Boy On A Worldwide Fight

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - To speak of her son Sean takes a lot of strength for Lisa Grogan. This is the first time she's ever told her story. This quiet stay at home mom devotes her day to her kids. Akemi's now three, Sean's a year and a half and what a year and a half it's been.

Sean was born six weeks premature and that was just the beginning. Since then he's fought off jaundice, Bronchitis and several rashes. Somehow, after Sean's first birthday things got worse when doctors diagnosed him with stage four hepatoblastoma, childhood liver cancer. Doctors soon changed their diagnosis to a germ cell tumor, still either way; Lisa's baby boy has cancer.

In the next several months, the hospital became home as Sean went through six rounds of chemo and one serious surgery. He's been stuck in a medical mess no family should ever endure.

"I had the family and the friends to help so that was good," Lisa Grogan said.

Lisa's steady sidekicks, Joe and Polly Schindler, have been a gift for the Grogan's since the day of diagnosis.

"There's such a helpless feeling for everyone around to not be able to fix it, and you can't fix childhood cancer," Polly Schindler said.

And though there is not yet a fix, it is this very illness that fostered their friendship.

"Some doctor tells you your kid has hepatoblastoma, it took me three days to be able to say the word and then you're like what does that mean," Joe Schindler said.

The Schnindler's daughter had childhood cancer, too.  Anna Schindler was just six when she was diagnosed, but her cancer spread quickly.

"We tried to keep things normal for the kids, celebrate birthdays, and I made her her cake," Schindler said. "She didn't have the strength to blow out the candle."

Anna Schindler was seven for two days.

"They called the number on her room and they came from everywhere," Polly Schindler said. "I called him (her husband, Joe) but by the time he got here they were already trying to resuscitate her and we had to tell them to stop."

The Schindler's now have a connection to the Grogan's that cancer cannot conquer, which helps, when a computer screen is the only current connection Lisa has with her husband, and baby Sean has with his daddy.

"I've seen a lot of things, but this is the hardest thing I've ever come across," Sean's dad, Tim Grogan said.

Tim Grogan's been deployed in the Middle East for a year, and has no choice but to watch his son struggle from afar.

"When you find something like this it feels your whole world is crashing down on you," Tim Grogan said. "One day he's playing the backyard with his sister, the next day he's has a 30% chance of surviving cancer."

But recently Sean has made significant strides, Doctors say for now, it appears, his cancer is nearly gone.

Thinking that cancer could take us from a hospital in Spokane, to a home in Airway Heights, over the plains of Post Falls to the Middle East, is no longer that surprising.

These families are in a battle fought worldwide. Tonight, Tim Grogan asks that you remember the children like Anna Schindler whose tragic tale ended far too soon, and while you're at it, pray for our troops, and his little trooper, too.

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