Ryan KennedyIf you asked most parents what they would do to spend more time with their dying child, the answer would be a resounding "anything!" Mom Kimberly Morris-Karp, however, is putting aside that fierce desire to hang on to every second of her 9-year-old son's life so that he can better live the time he has left.
Ryan Kennedy was 4 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. According to a story in The Oakland Press, for the past five years, he's undergone countless treatments, seven surgeries, and fought the "fight" against cancer. Recently, however, when doctors said there was another surgery that could perhaps prolong his life for several more months, he said no, and he said it vehemently.
Morris-Karp told CNN recently:
He just decided he didn't want to take any more pills, he didn't want any more surgery because it hurt. He just wanted to live the rest of his life.
She told the paper that the "selfish" part of her want to say no and make him do it, but, in the end, she and her husband gave in to his wishes.
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And we kept asking him over and over again. Once a week, I would ask him the same question: "Are you sure you’re OK with this? You don’t want any more treatment?" "Yup, I’m sure." We got to the final week, when we would have to schedule surgery, and he said, "I’m sure, Mom. I don’t want to discuss it anymore." It was a very sobering thing to sit there, and have to put aside what you want to do.
So they are doing what he wants to do -- vacation, swimming, and everything else to make the most of his remaining days as long as he's able. Doctors don't expect him to live past his 10th birthday -- May 24.
My heart breaks thinking of any family who has to make such a decision. Seeing your child in harm's way and being helpless to do anything about it is one of the worst feelings a parent can experience. Knowing there's something you can do to keep them with you -- even if for only a little while -- and not doing it has got to be even worse. But wow how brave and selfless they are for doing so.
I don't know if I could do the same. I hope I never have to find out.
Do you think you would make the same decision in a similar situation?