On May 14, we will gather in person for A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes. This special luncheon honors the mothers of children diagnosed with cancer, who guide their families through an unimaginable journey. The last two years have been virtual events, and many mothers whose children have been diagnosed during that time have no idea what to expect. So we sat down with Ramona King, whose son Ezra, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2018.
CURE: What is it like to be a mother walking through childhood cancer?
When Ezra was first diagnosed as a baby, I was terrified, mad, and alone. I felt like the only mother in the world having to deal with something so horrific. And in my own little world, I was. However, I soon found out that I am the farthest from being alone. There is a community of amazing mothers who are strong fighters for their children battling these diseases. I still struggle. I feel resentful at times for this being our story. I want so differently for my beautiful little boy. I have to fight so hard for his care, research things I never even dreamed of, and hold his body through things that children should never have to go through. It is traumatizing. However, I am a better person and a better mother for it. My perspectives on life and what is most important have shifted in the best way.
CURE: What was your first impression when you got the invitation to A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes?
My first impression when I heard about it was to not go. That sounds weird but I felt nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I felt so alone, and I thought by going and being around that many people, I’d feel even more alone. My husband urged me to go. I was timid when I parked and walked in. I felt overwhelmed. As soon as I put my name tag on, I felt like I was somebody. Not just someone who was hurting inside secretly, but like someone who everyone else with a nametag could relate to. I quickly made friends and saw other moms I had seen in the hospital hallways.
CURE: Did you enjoy the event?
I went to the Quiet Heroes event for the first time in 2018, just weeks after my baby began chemotherapy. I felt overwhelmed at first, but I quickly realized that I was in a room full of mothers who knew just exactly all that I had been through and felt during those horrific months following diagnosis. I wasn’t alone in my heartbreak for the first time. There were hugs, smiles, tears and “I’ve been there’s.” It was incredible. It felt nice to have an event just for me.
CURE: What was your biggest take-away?
It was like I could finally relate to someone face to face. For months in my community, I was the person everyone couldn’t look at, the person they pitied. I was the mother living everyone’s worst nightmare. At Quiet Heroes, I was just a friend. I could look into other moms’ faces and understand what they had been through, too. There were moms fresh in the fight and those that had decades of experience being in these shoes. It was so nice not to be the sad person in the room. We were all strong moms who had all walked similar paths.
CURE: Are you excited about Quiet Heroes being in person again?
I cannot wait to attend this year! I get to see friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I always am so proud to see my son’s sweet face on the screen. It’s a mix of fellowship, friendship, hugs, tears, and feeling so proud of our children who have been through so much.
CURE: What would you tell a mom whose child has recently been diagnosed with cancer?
You feel alone. You are the only person you know in your community who is hurting like this. But I want you to know that you aren’t alone. There are moms who have been where you are, who have had their hearts broken, have had to hold their child through the worst. We want to meet you because you make us feel not alone, too. There are so many of us out here making these tough decisions.
CURE: What would you tell a mom who might be hesitant to go to Quiet Heroes?
Just go. Just try it. You will love it! Just stand tall and be brave for a few minutes and get yourself in the door. Once you find a seat, you will realize you are a part of a friendly, fun, and amazing community of warrior moms.