A mother who shared heartbreaking photos showing her young son being comforted by his big sister in the midst of chemotherapy has revealed he’s now been given the all-clear from leukemia.
In September 2019, Kaitlin Burge from Princeton, Texas, posted photos of her son Beckett, then four, being comforted by his older sister Aubrey, then five, as he vomited over a toilet in reaction to grueling treatment.
She shared at the time that Aubrey would even carry her younger brother in her arms and place him on the couch while the tot was too weak to walk.
Beckett, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of two in April 2018, had spent months in hospital having chemotherapy.
However, his mother has now revealed that her son has been given a clean bill of health and is at school; a video shows him ringing the chemo bell at his hospital last week to mark a new chapter in his life.
Happy ending: In September 2019, Kaitlin Beckett shared images of her daughter Aubrey, then five, pictured rubbing her little brother’s back during treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia and the photos went viral. This week she revealed her son has been given the all-clear
Back to health: Beckett, now six, with his big sister, Aubrey, now seven. He had his last treatment in August and has returned to school for the new term
The siblings pictured during Beckett’s treatment. Kaitlin says that the pair have an ‘incredible bond’ and Aubrey remains ‘her little brother’s protector’
The mother-of-three, who is married to husband Matthew and has a younger daughter, Chandler, decided to release the painful images in 2019 to show the importance of family in times of crisis, she says.
Kaitlin adds that Aubrey, now seven, still plays the role of protector, revealing the siblings have formed an ‘irreplaceable bond’ because of Beckett’s illness.
‘Aubrey had such a huge impact on helping him get through this. They developed a bond that only siblings have that I couldn’t even replace.
‘When he was going through chemo she was more of a motherly figure, but Aubrey’s starting to notice that now he’s off it, he’s wanting to be a bit more independent.
‘She’s struggling with that as he’s now found his inner voice and any time she tries to help him he says “I can do it by myself”‘.
She adds that she even welcomes their occasional fights because it’s a sign of normal family life resuming.
Beckett pictured ringing the bell on his hospital ward to mark the end of his treatment after getting a clean bill of health
Kaitlin and her husband Matthew help congratulate their little boy after he ends his treatment
In tougher times: Aubrey cleaned up for her little brother after he’d been unwell during his months spent in hospital having chemotherapy
Beckett is now finding his feet again and has returned to school where he is excelling, while Aubrey has returned to her own hobbies that were previously stopped due to the financial strain her family were under during her brother’s treatment.
Kaitlin says: ‘The last two years, he’s been going through the day-to-day chemo he’s been on.
‘He was taking the nightly chemo pills and going in for treatment, then on August 8th, they stopped all chemo.
‘He was done with treatment. He’s going in once a month of labs but you never know – it’s a different world.’
Beckett still suffers some side effects of the chemo including some leg pain but his mother says getting his port out in two weeks will be ‘the icing on the cake for him’
Normality has returned for the family with Beckett starting to thrive educationally after ‘the fog of chemo’ cleared, says Kaitlin
Back to the occasional fight! Kaitlin says the siblings now argue sometimes which she takes as a sign of a more healthy family dynamic
She says her son struggled educationally with chemo: ‘He was really foggy brained and didn’t understand a whole lot. He got everything twisted up.
‘Now, it’s interesting to see. We were sitting at the table the other day and he was reading. I thought ‘you know how to read? What’s going on here?’ You give him a spelling word and he’ll spell it all.
‘We’re seeing more of a normal kid – things we never thought he’d ever do. It’s really cool and boosts his confidence.’
She says he still suffers some side effects of the chemo including some leg pain but says getting his port out in two weeks will be ‘the icing on the cake for him’.
She adds: ‘They can play as normal siblings now. I walk with them in the morning to school but they’ll bike home together.
‘They’re outside playing together and being kids now. Aubrey’s now on a competitive cheer team.’
Ready for the game: Red Sox fan Beckett shows off his baseball kit as he begins to resume normal activities
Tough: The youngster underwent chemotherapy, blood transfusions and platelet transfusions during his stay at hospital and was unable to see his sister for some time
Inseparable siblings Beckett (right) and Aubrey (left) can be seen here sharing a hug in Princeton, Texas during the middle of Beckett’s treatment
The youngster underwent chemotherapy, blood transfusions and platelet transfusions during his time in hospital
The pair pictured during Beckett’s treatment – he has now returned to school and has been given a clean bill of health by doctors
Kaitlin says Aubrey had independence thrust upon her – having to do things by herself
Aubrey and Beckett can be seen here with their little sister Chandler (front)
Speaking about the photos that went viral, Kaitlin said she decided to pick up the camera to show a family coming to terms with serious illness.
‘Aubrey just picked up from experience and took over. She’d rub his back and tell him it was going to be okay, clean his face up and wash his hands for him.
‘Right after that happened, she also carried him back to the living room and put him on the couch.
‘She asked me she could clean up the bathroom too, but I told her to go and sit down because that wasn’t her job.’
Beckett was diagnosed in 2018 aged two after an ear infection and has now endured regular hospital treatment.
Kaitlin said: ‘His situation started overnight with an ear infection. There were no things leading up to it that would even suggest cancer.’
What are the symptoms of leukaemia in children?
Fatigue and pale skin – this is because leukaemia can cause anaemia which makes a child feel weak, tired and light-headed.
Infections and fever – children with leukaemia lack normal white blood cells which would normally help fight infection.
Rash – children may have small, dark spots that look like common rashes if the leukemia cells spread to the skin
Easy bruising or bleeding – this includes frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums and bleeding a lot from small cuts.
Bone or joint pain – this is caused by a build up of leukaemia cells near the surface of the bone or inside the joint.
Swelling of the abdomen – leukaemia cells may collect in the liver and spleen causing them to enlarge.
Loss of appetite and weight loss – if the spleen and liver swell, they can press against the stomach causing loss of appetite.
Swollen lymph nodes – some leukaemias spread to the lymph nodes causing them to swell.
Source: American Cancer Society