Young Parents Face Scary Diagnosis With Humor And Bravery

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Current Articles | 0 comments

Young Parents Face Scary Diagnosis With Humor And Bravery

As human beings, we all sign up for a life of ups and downs; every single one of us can expect fate to deal us a complicated deck that will cause pain and joy in equal measure.

Fortunately, for the most part, its a slow-paced rollercoaster, with time and space to recover between new developments. Occasionally, however, life will pull the rug out from under you, and hand you half a dozen shockingsurprises all at once, both good and bad.

Theres something exceptional about people who go through this. Somehow as we saw with the brave parents making heart-wrenching decisions for their desperately ill twins theyre able to stand up under the pressure, and make it through to the other side with strength and quiet dignity.

This kind of poise is similarly visible in the story of Phil Secord and Amberley Gaspich, a young couple who have launched a GoFundMe campaign following a year spent facing hurdle after hurdle with bravery, love, and one doozy of a positive attitude.

What do you think of their touching tale? Let us know in the comments below!


Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

Phil and Amberley started dating back in 2012 and never looked back.

By summer 2015, they were ready for the next step, preparing to buy a house together and celebrate Phil’s 30th birthday.

They also had a piece of news that they were just bursting to share: Amberley was several months pregnant!

Everythingwas aligning, with a house, a baby, and, eventually, a wedding all in the stars.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

But shortly after the couple announced their pregnancy and were looking with excitement toward the future, Phil started noticing strange symptoms.

He was exhausted and had unexplained bruises all over his body. He went to the doctor, just to be safe, and was shocked to receive a terrifying diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

With their due date just around the corner, Amberley and Phil immediately began searching for solutions.

He started chemotherapy straight away, temporarily moving from the couple’s home in Saint Catharines, Ontario, to the cancer center in the city of Hamilton, more than 30 miles away.

Amberley, moving closer and closer to her due date, was with Phil whenever possible, right next to his hospital bed.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

For the couple, those months were a complicated commingling of good and bad. Even as Phil braved round after round of chemotherapy and treatment, their sweet baby’s due date was coming closer.

In some ways, the timing couldn’t have been better. Amberley told LittleThings that their baby girl is their “miracle” baby. Phil is unlikely to be able to have children following treatment, and this may have be their only chance to get pregnant.

Still, with parenthood right around the corner, the couple were in the complex position of being elated about the new baby, distraught by Phil’s diagnosis, and worried about the financial burden of having a newborn and extensive medical treatments all at once.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

But in November, all of those worries went on the back burner.

The couple had celebrated Halloween not long before, and Amberley tells LittleThings that Phil, who has a great sense of humor, leaned into his chemo symptoms and went as Uncle Fester fromThe Addams Family.

Just a few short weeks later, on November 24, Phil was in a break from chemo, but they ended up back in the hospital anyway, albeit for a much happier reason!

Amberleywas able togive birth to their sweet baby girl, Ellie May Secord, with her partner by her side.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

Despite the tremendous toll of the cancer treatment, having a loving family to support you can make all the difference.

Amberley estimates that Phil has been through more than 15 rounds of chemotherapy as of April 2016, and tells us that he has had three rounds of brain radiation, as well as three days of full-body radiation.

The medical treatment, while exhausting and uncomfortable, doesn’t seem to hold Phil back from reaching for his dreams.

To celebrate the New Year, Phil slipped a ring onto Ellie’s little hand and asked Amberley to marry him.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

But for every fairy tale moment in Phil and Amberley’s story, there’s another setback.

Though the couple would both love to be at home, planning their wedding and raising little Ellie together, at the moment it simply isn’t possible.

Phil had a bone marrow transplant in March, which might make a huge difference in his treatment.

Unfortunately, the treatment is incredibly physically challenging. He had to spend eight weeks in isolation, and is only just now able to see his wife and baby girl again.

Amberley told us that one of the biggest challenges for him is muscle weakness from being confined to bed. After eight weeks of recovery, it will be a while longer before he can even pick up and hold his baby girl.

Courtesy of Amberley Gaspich

In the meantime, Amberley is on maternity leave, and raising little Ellie mostly on her own, with help from her mother Kim, who lives next door. They are verylucky to have a support system so close by, not to mention incredible optimism and good humor, but times have certainly been tough for the little family.

Between maternity leave and Phil’s illness, they have lost much of their income, and are incurring mounting medicaland transportation costs as they make the 45-minute trip from Saint Catharines to Hamilton nearly every day.

Check out their GoFundMe page here to donate, and to learn more about this amazingly brave family and their joyful, tragic, chaotic journey through parenthood and illness.

And make sure toSHARE this story with friends and family to help spread the word and make a difference for Phil, Amberley and Ellie!

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