September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As social media feeds get flooded with posts drawing attention to what children with cancer face, a raw social media post from a Princeton mother showing her 4-year old son getting sick after chemotherapy while his 5-year old sister rubbed his back went viral.
"The siblings are often, they're forgotten," Kaitin Burge said, explaining why she posted the photos of her children on the Beckett Strong Facebook page. "They didn't see the impact it had on the siblings until that picture came out."
The photos are in stark black and white. They show Burge's son Beckett leaning over a toilet, with his sister Aubrey's arm on his back.
"Why did I throw up in my pj's," Beckett asked as he looked at the photos. "I was sick."
"I'll share the good, I'll share the bad, and I'll share the ugly," Burge said. "The disease they're fighting, it's ugly, and I don't think people realize what all goes on within these families unless they see a raw post like that."
Beckett was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2018. He takes 10 pills a day and will have to go through chemotherapy until 2021. Cancer didn't just change his life, it changed life for everyone in Beckett's family.
"You don't have the 9-months most people have to prepare for a kid...I'd never changed a diaper," Boomer Dorman said. The single uncle has been the caretaker for Beckett's youngest sister, 23-month old Chandler, because the risk of her coming home from daycare with an infection is too great a risk for Beckett. "While they were in the hospital with him, overnight I became a parent and had to help her with all those major milestones; crawling, walking, talking."
Burge said she expected some backlash from her raw Facebook post, and thought it might get shared a few times. Instead she said the comments have been mostly supportive. It's been shared more than 39,000 times...and counting.
"There are definitely brighter days ahead," Burge said.