Because of Luka
Because of Luka...Sweet, Brave, Awesome Luka, I sit down to write this, in hopes that our story inspires others to join us in the fight against childhood cancer! A story that is heartbreaking, but hopefully one that can also spread hope and light. A story that can maybe help kiddos and their families in this same fight have a better outcome. Luka’s story, which we continue to carry out with his guidance, is a true lesson in living life one day at a time, turning worry and grief into deeper faith, and focusing on hope and finding the good in each day…because that is what Luka would want!
Luka was a smart, athletic, and funny kid with the biggest heart! His young life changed very quickly at the end of first grade, just weeks after he turned 7 years old. In June of 2014, he was diagnosed with posterior fossa anaplastic ependymoma…a type of brain cancer with no known cure. Unfortunately the location of the tumor was up against the brain stem making complete and safe removal impossible. In all, Luka would have 6 brain surgeries, an eye surgery, shunt placement, various types of chemotherapy, 2 rounds of radiation, many, many MRI’s of the brain and spine, and countless hospital stays and appointments. Luka and I (his mom) also traveled to Augusta, Georgia where he was enrolled in an immunotherapy clinical trial, for a little over a year.
The initial and most extensive brain surgery left Luka with nerve damage causing deafness in his left ear, a facial droop, a paralyzed left vocal cord, and some swallowing difficulties. But to know Luka, you may not have never realized the extent of his deficits, as he rarely complained and he did his best to compensate and move forward like a “regular” kid. Luka most loved being active, especially outdoors playing sports. Any day playing sports or attending a sporting event with his dad, was a great day! Soccer was his first love, but he took to golf once soccer became too difficult. Luka also had a love for music and took up guitar lessons during his last year in his effort to continue to find new challenges for himself. He wasn’t a kid to give up or want too much attention for himself. Even as a young boy, Luka had such strong faith and trust that he would be ok no matter what. He most loved spending time with family and friends, and making others smile!
Unfortunately after 4 1/2 years, despite every effort from his team of doctors in Wisconsin and in Georgia, and prayers from all over the world, Luka passed away at the age of 11 on 12/28/2019.
He was an awesome little brother to his 2 sisters, and the best example for all who knew him to keep the faith, and find the good in each day! #Forever11