“Your mom has breast cancer.” It’s never easy to hear that sentence, especially for young kids. Jordan Vespoli reflects on hearing those words at age 9, how he supported his family and now, at age 16, helps other kids who learn their mom has a breast cancer diagnosis.
On October 30, 2008, my mom and dad sat me down on my bed to give me some news. I couldn’t imagine what they were going to say to me, but I knew it was serious. My mom had breast cancer. Cancer? What is that? I was pretty smart for a 9-year-old kid. I knew it had something to do with bad cells in your body and I knew that it was life threatening. I sat and listened. When they asked me if I had any question, I said nothing. I did not know what to say.
So when they left my room, I sat there motionless and deep in thought. I went through my days as I usually did, which was going to school, playing basketball and doing my homework. Inside, I felt scared and angry. I did not know anyone whose mom had ever had breast cancer.
After some time, I decided that the best way to deal with this situation was to help my family out in any way I could. I helped set up a schedule for our friends to prepare dinner for us while my mom was going through chemo. I also started speaking to my friends about it, but none of them went through the same thing I was going through.
Helping my mom and talking about it really helped me. In a way, I felt I had more control over this uncontrollable situation.
My advice to a kid whose mom is going through breast cancer is to talk about your fears and concerns with someone you trust. It helps a lot, more than you would think.
Unfortunately, it seems that every year, someone else my family knows is diagnosed with breast cancer. I will always remember the fear I felt. For this reason, I make it my priority to contact the children and let them know that I am here for them. I want them to feel more comfortable knowing that I know how they feel, and that they will get through it.
Experiences, both good and bad, can make an impact on your life. Sometimes, how we handle these situations really bring out the type of person we are. My mom is doing great and I am so proud of her and my family for how we handled our bad experience and continue to help others with theirs.