Parents of newly diagnosed cancer patients typically have plenty of opportunities to talk to other parents who are also fighting childhood cancer. But the last two years have been anything but typical.
As a pediatric nurse, Courtney Thomas noticed her daughter’s symptoms quickly. After a visit to the doctor, Zoe was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2020, just as the world shut down.
“The pandemic started during her treatment, which added complications,” said Courtney. “But it also prevents us from getting to know other families. The family room has been closed, and most parents stay in their room during treatment. We have felt very isolated at times. It would be nice to connect with other families who understand what we are going through.”
Additionally, events that usually bring the childhood cancer community together have been canceled or held virtually. The Thomas family participated in 2021’s virtual Lauren’s Run and had a great time walking a 2k on the Silver Comet Trail (even after Zoe fell asleep.) This year, they are very much looking forward to the in-person Lauren’s Run & Picnic.
“Zoe’s name is Greek, and it means ‘life,’” explained Courtney. “So our team name is Zoe Means Life, and we are super excited to celebrate the day with CURE’s staff and other cancer families!”
A month before Zoe was diagnosed, her father, T.J., started a new job with Wren Solutions. Even though he was a brand-new employee, the company has backed him and his family in every way possible.
“The people at Wren were great from the start,” Courtney said. “He was always going to work from home. But many times, he had to work odd hours while we juggled treatment with our other two kids. They have been wonderful.”
Wren Solutions has also stepped up to support T.J. and his family by becoming a Gold Sponsor for Lauren’s Run & Picnic.
“Finding a cure for childhood cancer is an important cause for us now,” Courtney said. “It means a lot to us for them to not only support us during treatment but to stay behind us by investing in the cause that is near to our family’s hearts.”
Treatment for leukemia is very long, but Zoe is getting close to the end. She has one more spinal tap and will take her last oral chemo in June. She has done well with treatment and looking forward to ringing the bell that signifies its end. She would also love to see you at Lauren’s Run & Picnic.
Lauren’s Run & Picnic is Atlanta’s favorite day of family fun. The event has raised more than $4.8 million to fight childhood cancer over the years. But it’s not just a run. After the race, there is an over-the-top picnic filled with games, prizes, elaborate face painting, inflatables, music and dancing, arts and crafts, a full lunch, and much more. Learn more and register at laurensrun.org. Zoe will see you there!