Thursday, September 19, 2013

Carter's Story

*Editor's note: I have been blessed to know and love a few of the kiddos whose stories have been shared on my blog during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month the last two years. Carter is one of those kids. He has been in class with Kennedy for the last two years and when he was diagnosed last Spring, my heart sank knowing the journey that he was about to begin. Kennedy, on the other hand, took the news of her friend being sick in stride. "Oh... 'kemia" she said, "I had that. I'm fine now. Carter will be too." She was able to go back to school and reassure all their friends, who were just learning that Carter was sick, that eventually he would be ok just like she is now. That childlike faith is what I strive for everyday. I feel blessed to be able to walk this journey with Carter and his family and honored to be able to support them however we can. Right now Carter and Kennedy's class is doing a fundraiser to raise awareness and help families who are dealing with childhood cancer. If you would like to donate to a great cause, please check out their website! We love you, Carter! Keep kicking cancer's butt!

Super Carter’s Story…

Carter is a typical 8-year-old kid. He loves LEGOS and being active – playing basketball, running cross-country, swimming, riding his bike, and playing with his sisters and friends. As his mom, I would describe him as fun, sweet, thoughtful, kind, smart, responsible, loud, friendly, and compassionate. Carter is very personable and has made many friends with other children fighting cancer, his amazing nurses and wonderful doctors at the hospital.

Carter’s journey began earlier this year when flu symptoms would not resolve, and his doctor ordered additional tests and x-rays, which discovered a huge mass in his chest and the diagnosis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Our family was told treatment would last 3 ½ years and chemo must begin immediately. For the last 4 months Carter has undergone 8 spinal taps, a couple bone marrow aspirations, dressing changes for his PICC line (now he has a port), surgery, countless pills and steroids (as many as 22 in one day!) with awful side effects, countless blood and platelet transfusions, more chemo and different types of chemo than I can remember, radiation to his brain, many long hospital stays, fevers, upset stomachs, extreme fatigue, CT scans, echocardiograms, and more needle pokes than most people will receive in their entire lifetime. He missed his last month of second grade and pretty much the first month of 3rd grade. He has missed out on lots of fun due to chemo, appointments, feeling very bad, and having a very low immune system.

Through it all Carter is an inspiration; a beacon of hope, courage, and love. He is the true definition of a hero. Carter wakes up every morning with a smile. He is strong, brave and more courageous than any man. That is not to say that there has not been tears because there have been plenty, but he picks himself back up and goes back in to fight and kill all those cancer cells, "those bad guys!” Although this is an extremely difficult time for Carter and our family, he still finds plenty of reasons to smile.

During one of his recent hospitalizations, Carter had a traumatic experience with getting his port accessed. Because he had been in the hospital a week, they needed to de-access him (take the currently needle out of his port in his chest) and replace it with a clean one. Carter’s nurse had trouble getting the new needle in; it would not draw blood back. She had to press on his port and try to get it in better, only to have to take the needle out and try again. This was very painful for Carter, it was heartbreaking to watch. His nurse felt so bad, she called his favorite nurse from the infusion clinic (the chemo clinic) to come and get Carter accessed, luckily she was able to get it right in. Carter’s original nurse felt so bad, she came in and apologized to Carter. What did he say? He said, “Don’t worry, it is okay, everyone makes mistakes.” I was so proud at that moment, as I don’t think I could have said that.

Carter has a long road ahead of him, but we have no doubt that he will prevail. He will kick cancer to the curb and he will continue to do great things and make a difference in this world. Carter is a superhero like no other!

 Carter Gates
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia


Anne B. said...

KICK IT TO THE CURB CARTER!!!! I so love to hear about the hope for these young kids! Kennedy is an awesome advocate and a super supporter!! Going to check their website now! (((HUGS)))!!!

Jessica said...

I am Carter's Aunt Tata (as he calls me). Thank you so much for posting Carter's story. My sister, Carter and the rest of their family are so lucky to have your support. It is truly a blessing to them in this very difficult time. I hope someday soon, I can meet you and Kennedy. Carter is my hero without a doubt. Watching them go through this has been heartbreaking, I wish constantly that there was something I could do to take the pain of watching their little boy go through this away. I admire the awesome spirit their family has. My little sister is so very inspiring to me. Carter is one lucky guy...such a great Mom and Dad, he has. And his sisters, my nieces, are everything to him. Love to my favorite nephew and favorite sister.

M. Lamberton (Kristie's mom) said...

Kennedy and Carter are 2 of the most amazing kids I have met. I can only wish to see the world through their eyes and have half the courage they have. Keep fighting Carter - you are in our daily thoughts and prayers!

M. Lamberton (Kristie's mom) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma said...

Renee I want to share with you that I think God spoke to me through Kennedy's words last night. I always write down my day's thoughts and had been writing about something I'd been worrying about. It wasn't that bad in the greater scheme, which is what I realised from Kennedy's words. Everything's gonna be all right... I think we can all learn from that attitude, do not worry!

Praying for Carter
E x

Nightbomber said...

I have just read about your fight mate on our site:
On behalf of my group of fellow pilots/players of Poland, who know what such illness means (well, there are some doctors among us) I wish you a speedy recovery. The world needs such brave warriors like you. Go ahead boy and we will cover your six;)

Zoe Brain said...

Nightbomber's from Poland. I'm from Australia.

You're world famous, Carter, and we're all flying Combat Air Patrol for you.

Now go beat that cancer. We can't take the pain away from the needles and chemo, but we can support you in other ways.

When you're better, come visit, and we'll show you around.

Clear Skies.

Watchdog said...


This is Watchdog, from the Czech Republic, another one of the many Wings of Glory Aerodrome pilots touched by Carter's story. I hope everything gets better.

I am am a registered bone marrow donor and I would like to ask every healthy man and woman reading this to register in their countries. You never know, it may be your DNA of all in the world that is the only one capable of saving a human life.