3z1b8832I work night shifts as an ER tech, and my husband works during the day. So we switch off when Jaquan has to be in the hospital for his treatment. The nurses try to let me get some sleep, but he still wants to play and be a kid. Some days, I don’t know what we’d do without his Kindle Fire. That was one of the best things he ever got in his backpack from Connor’s Heroes. It’s pretty much the only way I can get a few hours of sleep.

It was two days before the end of Jaquan’s kindergarten year, and we were at his 6 year check-up. The pediatrician felt something in his abdomen. He’d had no symptoms at all before that, and he had barely missed a day of school that year. His doctor sent us for an ultrasound. He said, “It could be something. Or it could be nothing.”

Jaquan_#HeroesofRVAYou know that feeling in your gut when something is wrong, and it’s suddenly more than just being worried? We were waiting for his ultrasound results, and they were taking too long to come back and talk to us. I knew it never takes them that long, unless it’s not good. I remember watching the clock and getting that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was probably only 25 minutes but it felt like an eternity.

Jaquan #HeroesofRVA

We’ve been in the hospital for treatments 5 times with each visit lasting about a week. This is the final maintenance treatment, so hopefully there won’t be any more hospital visits for us. But the testing and the waiting is so hard. Sometimes, it’s almost a week before I get the results — to know whether he’s going to get a clean scan, or find out that a medicine hasn’t worked. So, all I have is time to think. When we’re in the hospital there’s basically nothing to distract me. It sounds bad, but it’s been better for me to prepare myself for the worst.

Jaquan #HeroesofRVA

(Note: These photos were part of a series that ran in September 2016 for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Photographer Kristin Seward spent many hours with the families and staff whom Connor’s Heroes has come to know as we work together to help these brave children.)