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Butterfly Blog

Meet Your June Butterfly Buddies: Gabriel, Elijah, and Jonathan

Gabriel, Elijah, and Jonathan are brothers who have an “incredible bond,” according to their mom, Kate. Gabriel, who is the oldest at nine years old, is sweet, thoughtful, kind, and a protective older brother. Elijah, now six years old, is animated, full of life, and funny. And the youngest of the three brothers, Jonathan, wants to be just like his big brothers. He’s a spirited and happy 5 year old. Karate has been a shining light for the boys; an outlet for healing and support, and helping the boys build back confidence after a traumatizing four years– and the three boys can all practice karate together, thanks to supporters like you!

It started in the spring of 2018, when Kate and the boys’ dad, Randy, noticed that Elijah’s skin tone had changed to a yellowish color, and then, in the course of a week, his energy-level deteriorated. Their pediatrician immediately sent Elijah for bloodwork when she noted that Elijah was “markedly pale,” and within hours Kate and Randy were told that he had leukemia. The doctor told them to pack up Elijah’s favorite loveys, blankies, and clothes because they needed to go to the hospital, and they were going to be there for a while.

Elijah was admitted to Hasbro Children’s Hospital that night, but Kate couldn’t stay: Jonathan was still an infant and Gabriel was only 4 years old. She needed to be home with them. Randy stayed at the hospital with Elijah. 

“Not being able to be together when we needed each other the most was really difficult for us,” Kate remembers.

In May 2020, after in-patient stays and multiple outpatient treatments each week, Elijah got to ring the bell to mark the end of his treatment!

To celebrate, a simple request by Kate to have a ladder truck (the boys’ favorite!) welcoming them home turned into a parade of South Kingstown fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and friends, who all showed up with horns blazing! At a time when the family was so isolated, they were profoundly moved to see how their friends and town came through for them! 

Because Elijah’s treatment ended during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he was immunocompromised for six months after, the family had to stay isolated to keep him safe. 
Because of this isolation period, Gabriel had to endure distance learning longer than any of his friends. And, because Jonathan missed many activities during toddlerhood, he had to deal with a lot of fears going into preschool this year.

Cancer “happened to all of us - our whole family. It will always be with us, and we’ll always carry that,” Kate says. 

A year into Elijah’s treatment, Kate found Lucy’s Love Bus in her search to find “normal kid experiences” for the boys. Through support from Love Bus, Elijah was able to do therapeutic horseback riding, on a peaceful and healing farm, with a horse named Bandit who Elijah bonded with. And now, through the Lucy’s Children and Sajni’s Siblings programs, all of the boys are able to practice karate together. 

Today, the boys are all doing well, and Kate and Randy feel so thankful for their support system of friends, family, the town of South Kingstown, and charitable organizations like Lucy’s Love Bus, and A Wish Come True, who all have been there for them when they needed it the most.

“It means a lot to us to be supported in this way; to know that we are still thought of, even after treatment. It’s organizations like Love Bus that make us feel like what we went through matters.” Kate explains, “there’s something really special about feeling seen by an organization, and knowing that there’s a group of people who support it and who care deeply. It’s a really beautiful feeling.”

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