To celebrate Father’s Day, which is Sunday, June 19, we are highlighting fathers who have joined CureSearch for Children’s Cancer in the fight against children’s cancer. This is the story of Will Dickes, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 12, written by his father, Steve on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
Will Dickes was the son we could only dream of. My wife and I were unable to conceive a child and after several years working with an adoption agency our dreams came true. Sweet William – Young, Jung Joon – arrived in Minneapolis, MN from South Korea and brought to my wife’s arms. What a bundle of joy; what a wonderful boy.
We lived the idyllic life – another adoption from Korea to give us our daughter Elizabeth. We lived the happy, busy life all couples dream of. School, soccer, dance, Tae Kwon Do, family vacations.
At the age of 12, in June 2008, Will was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was treated using chemotherapy and radiation for nearly nine months and was in the maintenance phase of his treatment plan. Unfortunately, he relapsed in July 2009 and started over with chemotherapy in preparation for a bone marrow transplant.
Being adopted from Korea, it was questionable if a suitable match would be found, but in November of 2009 a match was located. After further chemotherapy and radiation, Will had his transplant on Jan 7, 2010. Oh the joy! The transplant progressed well into the summer of 2010, but Will relapsed in August 2010, with no further treatment options available.
Will opted for no experimental treatments so that he could attend school and be with his friends. He was fortunate to be able to start 9th grade at Century High School and have a reasonably normal high school experience – attending school with his friends, concerts, football games, a homecoming dance, parties, the sweetheart dance.
Will and our family were able to take a fun family trip to sunny Florida in January 2011, but shortly after the trip, Will’s leukemia overtook him in late February. He passed away on March 7, 2011, five days after turning 15. Will was able to spend his final months doing the things he loved and hanging out with his friends.
He is dearly missed.
In Will’s memory, my passion, my means of fighting cancer and battling my own grief is now in the Ultimate Hike, which benefits CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. I am in my fourth year as a team captain and on trail coach.
I love you Will.
If you’re a CureSearch father and would like to share your child’s cancer story, please visit our Facebook page on Father’s Day and join in the conversation.
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