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Superhero Lincoln

Written by: Courtney Kurtz, Lincoln’s mama

When Courtney took her son Lincoln to the doctor for a check-up, she never thought it would result in a hospital visit and a cancer diagnosis.

Lincoln didn’t seem to have any symptoms that anything was wrong. But when the pediatrician examined him and found that the 18-month-old’s liver was enlarged, he immediately sent them to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

January 2017, Lincoln was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia T-cell. 

Here is Courtney’s perspective of their cancer journey…

Q: What would you like the world to know about your cancer journey with Lincoln?
It’s been an incredibly hard journey, but Lincoln is an outgoing kid who loves people. He has spent more than 100 days in the hospital, and through it all he has kept his spirits up.

Cancer treatment is really hard on kids and there are many side effects. During the first 30 days of treatment, Lincoln lost the ability to walk and crawl. He stopped eating and lost a lot of weight, and we nearly had to have a feeding tube put in. But we were able to work through it with various medicines, and after the first nine months, he started gaining weight again.

There is a tremendous need for more research for childhood cancer.  These kids are amazing and deserve better treatment options with fewer toxicities and long-term side effects.

Q: What did others close to you do for you and your family that made a difference?
We are thankful for all the support we have received, including meals, financial assistance and gifts for Lincoln.  These all helped us get through some really difficult times.

Q: What gave you strength during your journey?
It’s been really hard, but my child is my everything – I’d do anything for him. This kid is amazing, and his spirit is unbreakable and that gives me strength.  Right after Lincoln’s diagnosis, I took two months off work, and then had to go part-time. I didn’t want to miss a single minute with my baby. My employer has been helpful and understanding, letting me have time off when he’s sick or has appointments.

Q: Is there a program at Cancer Support Community that has helped your family?
The monthly moms’ support group has been a big help.  It is always great to connect with other moms and know you’re not alone. I’ve found that during the intense times, I run on adrenaline. But when things get a little better, the emotions start to creep up on me, and that’s when the support group is helpful.

Lincoln went to an art program in the Kids Korner and he loved it. He is immuno-compromised so he can’t be around a lot of other kids, especially if someone is sick. He longs to play with other kids, but it’s been hard to find a safe space for him to do that. So it’s nice to have these activities at Cancer Support Community in a safe environment, where other parents know not to bring a sick child into the program.

Q: Where are you now in your journey with cancer? 
For his type of cancer, treatment lasts for 3½ years. Lincoln had nine months of initial treatment to get the cancer into remission. Now, he receives daily, weekly and monthly chemo and steroid treatments. He takes nausea medicine every day, but still throws up a lot. He’s had a rougher road than most with the side effects and hospital stays. But he’s in maintenance now, after almost 3 years. The treatment will end in May 2020, although there will be more tests after that to make sure there is no recurrence. But for now, Lincoln has started preschool and is enjoying being a kid as much as possible.

Please consider becoming a Superhero by donating to Kids Korner for children with pediatric cancer and their families. Click HERE to donate.