Many parents have gone above and beyond to comfort their children with cancer. Josh Marshall took this responsibility to new heights. A true super dad, Marshall got a tattoo to match his son’s cancer scar. Here’s what he had to say to ABC News.
All for love
Eight-year-old Gabriel Marshall has brain cancer. The bad news came in March of 2015 when he was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma. Gabriel underwent a series of surgeries that left him bald with a hook-like scar on his scalp. He was devastated. His father, John Marshall, tells ABC News:
My son was very self-conscious after he got his surgery. He felt like a monster.
So, Marshall did something radical. He shaved off his hair and got his son’s cancer scar tattooed on his own head.
I said, ‘You know what, I’ll get your scar tattooed. That way, if people want to stare at you, then they can stare at both of us.’
Marshall’s decision worked wonders for Gabriel’s confidence. Gabriel loves his father’s tattoo and boasts that he and his father are now twins. Marshall even won first place in the St. Baldrick Foundation’s #BestBaldDad photo competition. His image received over 5,000 votes.
Unfortunately, a small section of tumor still exists in Gabriel’s brain. However, it has stopped growing and he is doing quite well. He receives MRI scans every three months to monitor his condition.
Parents risk it all
The Marshalls’ story is touching, but John Marshall is far from the only parent to go above and beyond for their child. Many families have uprooted their homes and risked prosecution to provide their children with medical cannabis. Others have risked social judgment by going public with their controversial treatment choice.
The Comstocks are one such family. When their daughter, Mykayla, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012, they quickly turned to medical cannabis. Cannabis is known to ease the burden and pain of chemotherapy. It reduces intense nausea caused by traditional cancer treatments and gives children their appetite back.
When Mykayla first began chemo, her white blood cell (lymphocyte) levels would drop and then spike again. For someone with leukemia, this is a dangerous game.
Soaring lymphocytes hint that the immune system is not working properly. This is a sign that treatment isn’t working as effectively as it should. Yet, once the Comstocks gave their daughter cannabis oil, things changed. The family blogs:
Instantly she was able to eat again. That was the first benefit that we noticed. She was happier, she smiled and laughed constantly. We loved it! One week after we began the oil treatment Mykayla’s physicians notified us that her leukemia had vanished from her bone marrow and blood! She was in remission.
Medical cannabis to the rescue
Though some might be skeptical of cannabis as cancer treatment, recent evidence gives hope that the herb really does kill cancer cells. Medical cannabis has also shown tremendous potential in fighting brain tumors.
A Spanish research team has been testing the efficacy of the herb against glioma cells for over a decade. A glioma is a type of malignant tumor found in brain tissue. Gliomas are one of the most aggressive and detrimental forms of cancer.
Back in 2001, researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid put THC to the test. THC is the primary psychoactive in cannabis. The team found that the psychoactive slowed the growth of glioma cells. Later research from the same team found that THC, coupled with other cannabis compounds, caused cancer cells to self-destruct. This is a great step toward more compassionate cancer care in the future.
Whether the Marshall family has decided to try medical cannabis or not, one thing is certain. When your child is sick, no cost is too high. When Gabriel was in pain, his father did not hesitate to take action. The result was overwhelmingly positive.
The same goes for the Comstock family. When Mykayla was struggling with chemotherapy, they wasted no time. They then had the audacity to share their story with the world, spreading awareness about this life-saving medicine.
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