Yes like I said it's been a while since I've done a post.
My last post was about a little boy fighting cancer and had a Birthday wish to receive Birthday cards because he liked to receive mail ~ I want you all to know that he received mail beyond his wildest dreams!!! Thanks to all who was a part of this special day!!!
Beckett ~ received 10,000+ cards not including packages. It took 4 mail trucks to deliver his wishes.
Beckett Roerdink has a wish for his fourth birthday: He wants to
get mail. Lots of it.
His mother, Melanie, also has a wish for his birthday — that her
son, who was diagnosed with an incurable cancer last year, is here to celebrate
his fifth birthday.
"He loves mail, so any time he gets mail he gets super
excited," Roerdink of Greenville said. "It would just be so awesome
if he would just get a bunch of cards for his birthday."
(Send mail to Beckett Roerdink, W6871 Sunnyvale Lane Apartment
E, Greenville, WI 54942.)
Little Beckett's family, which also includes dad Kevin, sister
Madison, 10, and brother Ethan, 6, are making his birthday Wednesday a cause
for celebration. And with good reason. There wasn't much to celebrate last
After suffering from a prolonged illness, Beckett underwent
testing in April 2013. An MRI revealed something the family hadn't been
expecting. Beckett had a large brain tumor. The tumor also had a name:
An ependymoma is the third most common type of brain tumor in
children, according to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, but they are still
relatively rare, with about 200 cases diagnosed in the United States each year.
"Everything changed," Roerdink said.
Days after the diagnosis, the tumor was removed through two
surgeries, which had devastating side effects of their own. With the exception
of his left hand, Beckett was completely paralyzed and had to face yet another
battle — radiation.
Opting for proton radiation with the hope of having a better
outcome, the Roerdinks spent two months in Texas for the treatment because of
its lack of availability in Wisconsin.
And ever since Beckett has been in therapy — speech,
occupational and physical — two to three times a week learning how to walk,
talk and do everything preschoolers do.
"Even though he doesn't have the tumor, he has deficits
from having the surgery and radiation," Roerdink said.
Beckett wears an eye patch a few hours a day because his cranial
nerves have been damaged from the surgery. He recently received inserts for his
shoes because his balance hasn't stabilized. He has eye appointments every
three months and is returning to Texas later this month to see his oncologist
And there is the uncertainty of tomorrow.
Beckett heads to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee
every three months for an MRI to check for any tumors or damage to the healthy
tissue from radiation. This kind of tumor tends to come back and gets harder to
treat, Roerdink said.
"It's a horrible cancer," she said.
There is always that worry, that "scan-xiety," as
Roerdink calls it, and living with knowing that the long-term survival rate is
He is due for another MRI Sept. 24.
All of it has taken a toll — emotionally and financially.
Roerdink now works part time so she can take Beckett to all of
his medical appointments and therapy sessions. Kevin works full time and
overtime. They work opposite schedules so their little guy is always home with
a parent. His weakened immunity doesn't allow for anything else. And the family
of five is living in a two-bedroom apartment they moved into just after selling
their home before this whole cancer nightmare began.
Not that they are complaining.
"We look at everything differently," Roerdink said.
"We pretty much live one day at a time and feel beyond blessed. We see
things in a whole different light.
"Beckett is the sweetest, most patient boy. You can't not
love him. Everyone loves him. He's real easygoing but maybe because he's had no
With September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and
Beckett's birthday, Roerdink also hopes that their story makes others more
aware of the major medical conditions and cancers children face.
"I only have one true wish and that's they find a
cure," she said. "And I hope he has many more birthdays."
It's all the more reason that on Wednesday, when Beckett turns
4, his family wants to mark the happy occasion with a celebration at home and
hopefully some cards from the community as well.
"Milestones are huge because we didn't even think that we
would get through surgery," Roerdink said.
"We have to do something to celebrate because it's a big
So when Beckett blows out the candles on his cake — either
"Monsters University" or Mickey Mouse, he hasn't decided which yet —
there will be wishes, smiles, likely even a few tears.
And the gift of Beckett.
— Julie Gilkay: 920-993-1000, ext. 319, or
firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @JulieGilkay
Send a card
Help Beckett Roerdink celebrate his fourth birthday on Wednesday
and make his wish come true by sending a card. Mail it to Beckett Roerdink,
W6871 Sunnyvale Lane Apartment E, Greenville, WI 54942.
To follow Beckett Roerdink's progress, visit his Caring Bridge
page atwww.caringbridge.org/visit/beckettroerdink. To make a
donation, visityoucaring.com and type his name in the search