Cager’s Crusaders

“Faith in something greater than ourselves enables us to do what we have said we’ll do, to press forward when we are tired or hurt or afraid, to keep going when the challenge seems overwhelming and the course is entirely uncertain.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

Bryan and Cynthia Gentry live by their faith. Last year, unforeseeable challenges and uncertainty entered their lives when their son, Cager Neal Gentry, was diagnosed with leukemia on August 22, 2011 and passed away three weeks and five days later.

Upon Cager’s diagnosis, the doctors immediately formed a treatment plan. The protocol treatment he would receive had an 80% success rate. Cager would receive strong chemo drugs for the first month, and then he would go into remission and receive “maintenance” chemo treatments for the next 3 years. This was the plan. This plan would cure Cager.

The first few weeks were particularly difficult consisting of long hours at the hospital, no food or water for 5 to 6 hours while receiving chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and four surgeries. Cager often had to receive chemo drugs at home, which he didn’t want to take. Bryan and Cynthia had a hard time watching Cager go through so much pain. They leaned on the Lord and their faith to give them the strength to continue. They held their son’s hand to comfort him and were hopeful that soon his cancer would be gone.

Three weeks into Cager’s treatment, he developed an infection and was not responding to any medication that his doctors gave him. Two days after Cager developed the infection, doctors decided to continue with his chemo treatments. After this, Cager’s health quickly began going downhill and he never recovered. The doctors couldn’t explain why he was getting worse instead of better. Their once perfect treatment plan was now entirely uncertain.

Every day was more of a struggle, another challenge thrown at them. Within a blink of the eye, their plan had changed and Cager had passed away suddenly. Bryan and Cynthia were left with so many unanswered questions. What had gone wrong? Why didn’t the medication help him? To help answer their questions, they decided to have an autopsy performed. It showed that his cancer was remission and that what ultimately took his life was liver failure. Their doctor said she was almost certain it was the result of one of the chemo drugs that he had only received twice. She had never seen this happen in her 25 years of being with the hospital.

Amid all their challenges and uncertainty, Bryan and Cynthia know for certain that their son is in Heaven and in their future. Their faith carries them through each day as they continue Cager’s fight by spreading awareness about childhood cancer.  “Cager’s Crusaders” is the name Bryan and Cynthia use to represent their friends and family that have united for Cager and the many children like him who have and are fighting cancer.

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Did You Know

Building awareness of childhood cancer is critical to funding and finding a cure. To help, please consider sharing on your Facebook.

Today, 46 children will be diagnosed with cancer.  Seven will lose their battle.

Did you know September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

Every day in America, approximately 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.

Childhood cancer does not discriminate, sparing no ethnic group, socio-economic class, or geographic region.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children, accounting for about 3% of childhood cancers.

On average, 1 in every 4 elementary schools has a child with cancer.

About one-third of childhood cancers are leukemias.

Childhood cancer survival rates in the United States have increased from less than 20% in the 1960s to almost 80% today.

Cancer kills more children each year than Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, and Pediatric AIDS combined.

Childhood cancer is not one disease entity, but rather a spectrum of different malignancies. Cancers found in children are biologically different from those seen in adults.

1 in 300 children will develop cancer before age 20.

Neuroblastoma is the most common extra cranial solid tumor cancer in children.

Today, up to 75% of the children with cancer can be cured, yet, some forms of childhood cancers have proven so resistant to treatment that, in spite of research, a cure is illusive.

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