A sidekick is someone who stands steadfast beside a superhero in the face of danger, just like Robin does with Batman.
It’s what she’s been doing ever since she decided to go “all in” and charge the villain cancer with Wes, facing everything from chemotherapy, surgery and a stem cell transplant to radiation and immunotherapy.
She did it all, despite not knowing if her family’s lives would ever be normal again.
“Early on in our fight, my dear friend Mary, who had been through the same thing when her daughter battled leukemia, told me to ‘use Wes as your guide.’ I listened to that, and looked to Wes to show me how he was doing. He showed us how strong he was and only gave us reasons to stay positive. My strength came from him, and so we matched that for him.”
But she didn’t do it alone. Just like The Avengers assemble to make good things happen, a team of fellow sidekicks did the same for Caroline.
In addition to finding strength from Wes, she received a daily dose of it from her family. Caroline’s husband, Pei, became “Mr. Mom” at home so she could focus on Wes’ needs, and her two other children, Avery and Jet, made sure Wes was constantly laughing in the face of an exhausting and uncertain time. And both her and Pei’s parents, as well as her sisters, banded together to be an amazing support system.
It was the same friend, Mary, who introduced Caroline to CureSearch before Wes was diagnosed. They had celebrated Mary’s daughter being in remission by participating in a Walk, and now that Wes was in his first year of treatment, they participated in another event. Once Wes reached remission and completed treatment, she joined the local Charlottesville committee. She has helped to plan local Charlottesville events for the past two years.
“CureSearch brings our local ‘cancer families’ together for our common cause. We use the opportunity to celebrate our superhero survivors, to encourage those still in the fight, and remember the heroes that are gone.”
Today, Wes is an active and happy 4-year-old who loves getting dirty and playing in the water, sand, pools and beaches with his family (something he couldn’t do during treatment, so he’s making up for lost time).
Caroline’s current favorite activity with Wes is getting a kick out of watching him dance, sing and act silly to his favorite song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” by Justin Timberlake.
One thing she will forever enjoy doing is being grateful for what Wes has taught her. It can be likened to this quote by Britt Reid, also known as the Green Hornet: “It’s not dying that you need to be afraid of. It’s not having lived in the first place.”
“I am so thankful for the perspective our cancer journey has given me. Cliché as this may sound, every day is truly a gift. I don’t care what our children want to be when they grow up, I just want them to grow up and love life!”
Caroline has some advice for parents of superheroes: stay educated about your child’s cancer, remain engaged with your doctors about the treatment, and avoid outdated information on the internet – it will only stress you out even more.
“Focus on your superhero, and his or her needs of each day, and try to fit as much FUN in as possible. Accept the help that is offered, and ask for help when you need it. Always stay hopeful.”
With sidekicks as awesome as Caroline, you can’t help but stay hopeful.
Help us fight the villain cancer in our countdown to National Superhero Day by donating toward lifesaving research. Help us give superheroes like Wes a chance to live longer, better and healthier lives.
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