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Counting her blessings

This is the time of year for reflection and giving thanks for the blessings life has to offer.

Amy Phillips was kind enough to share her journey. At this time 17 years ago her seven month old son, Luke, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer.

“I am truly blessed this Thanksgiving,” said Amy Phillips on her life-changing event. “He [Luke Phillips] was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Dallas and prepared for surgery.”

At that time this type of cancer was so rare that only two hospitals were treating patients and only about one case per year. In Luke’s case he would have to have surgery to remove the huge mass in his chest, behind his heart that stemmed from his spinal cord.

“Most children were diagnosed by the coroner due to the fact that neuroblastoma kills before the baby reaches his/her first birthday,” Phillips, who is also a registered nurse, sadly recalled. “Luke was already seven months old at the time of diagnosis. He was a very sick little baby. Going into surgery we were told, ‘if he survives, he will be paralyzed on the left side.’ We spent Thanksgiving week in Intensive Care Unit. But God is good, and Luke is strong.”

Thinking back to that Thanksgiving morning in 1996, Phillips remembered a special memory.

“We were sitting in ICU waiting room and a man and young boy brought in two big boxes, put them on a table and walked out without saying a word. Well, being the nosey I had to sneak a peek. On top of one of the boxes was a note that read: “Last year I sat where you are now, my baby was very sick in ICU and a family I didn't know brought us Thanksgiving dinner. We want to pay it forward, enjoy.” It was amazing – the turkey, dressing, all the trimmings, desserts, rolls, drinks – everything was homemade and tasted amazing. We never got their name but I have thanked them a million times in my prayers,” said Phillips. “The next year on Thanksgiving Day we prepared two full dinners and took one to Children’s Hospital ICU waiting room with a note on the box about our Luke and his story. As far as I know, this tradition still lives on today –17 years later! Praise God!”

Luke is now 17 years old and is a senior at Cooper High School. His mother is happy to report he is not paralyzed and is very healthy. He is even a member of the CHS golf team and works as the third generation with his father, Chuck, and grandfather at David’s Garage. Luke likes spending time with his younger brother, Alex (an eighth grader at Cooper) and his older brother, Justin and his family.

“I am so thankful for all the thoughts, prayers, and especially thankful for Children’s Hospital in Dallas and for Dr. Bob Bash, Dr. Winick, Dr. Cleveland and the entire staff at the hospital. Mostly, I am thankful God led the surgical team to find this disease and allowed Luke to live his life, and I am able to be a part of it.” said Luke’s mother, very humbled by the whole experience.

They are preparing for another trek from Cooper to Dallas for his checkup this December.

“Just remember that when you think it can’t get any worse, stop and be thankful for what you have because it can all change in an instant,” reminded the very blessed mother.

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