Brandon was a student I had last year at Ephrata. He was in 3rd grade. He rarely made it to school because he was always in and out of the hospital. Brandon had cancer, severely, spread throughout his whole body. The times he came to art, I made sure to get to know this kid. He had a beaming little smile that lit up the room. He was full of love and laughter. He was the baby in his family, his older siblings ADORED him. His parents took SUCH good care of him, giving him all the attention and special doctors he needed. He was small for his age. It could have been the toll that cancer took on his body, I'm not sure. When he got his head shaved for chemo, he wore a beanie to school all the time. The other students all are fully aware of his cancer, and loved him despite it. I remember walking last year "Laps for Loose" (his last name is Loose), and every day for weeks on ends the students and staff would spend recess (or our lunch) walking to "get brandon around the country" before it was too late. It was amazing. The entire school walked enough miles for him to go on all his destinations more then 3 times. I even helped make a banner in support of it. Brandon got to take the banner home and put it in his room, and sometimes it even traveled to hospitals with him. We thought last year we were gonna lose him. He got really bad, very weak, the cancer had spread. The counselor and principal were going around from room to room really explaining his illness to all the students who knew and loved him. He made it, he stuck around. He hung in there...he was so, so, so strong.
I just got an email today that he just passed away. My heart aches for this family who has to put their 9 year old in the ground. I have never seen a child with so much going on be SO happy and sweet all the time. He loved life.
His mother just updated their personal webpage on him last night....
Here is what she wrote:
Sunday, October 5, 2008 10:52 PM CDT
This is probably one of the hardest updates i have had to write. Brandon is not doing well. He is in constant pain, we now have him on a constant dilaudin (spelling) and valium to keep him from being upset. I know this is hard for some of you to read but the reality is Brandon is loosing his fight. He has given it his all for 4 and a half years, his body is tired. He is tired. I want to apologize to anyone we have not called personally. You know we love you all. Brandon's liver is failing. There is a blockage that we cannot do anything for. So it is only a matter of time. I just pray we can keep him comfortable until the day he goes to Heaven with the other Angels who fought just as hard as him. Please pray for a miracle either this turns around or he leaves us without pain. Thanks again for all your support, and please pray for our other friends fighting this horrible, horrible monster called NEUROBLASTOMA. I also want to say that once our journey ends, I will be starting the biggest crusade against pediatric cancer anyone has ever seen. I am pissed at this horrible beast. Anyone wanting to join me is more that welcome. I will update as I can. Love to you all,
I will genuinely miss him. I have thought about him so many times since the end of last year. As my mom says, Jesus is now holding him dearly in his arms, he is painless and at peace.
To read an awesome article just written about him nearly two weeks ago when he was still battling...go here: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/227678