Each week, Fourth and Gold will highlight a cancer warrior that has bravely and fiercely stood strong against childhood cancer. At Fourth and Gold, we want you to see the faces behind our drive and connect with them in a way you wouldn’t have been able to if you didn’t take the stand to demand #MoreThan4! Our precious kids have cancer, but cancer does not have them.
Enzo Gentile diagnosed with grade III Anaplastic Ependymoma (brain cancer) at 11 months of age.
Current Age: 2 (DOB 2/2/16)
Favorite things: Anything that has wheels and moves! Enzo is especially into dirt bikes, four wheelers, side by sides… literally ANYTHING that has wheels, Enzo is ALLL about it! Besides trying to be a licensed driver at the age of 2, Enzo really loves his big brother Dominic <3
Favorite food: If you’re going to be visiting Enzo, you better be bringing him… DONUTS! (A little boy after our own hearts!) and if you wanted to throw in some blueberries and grapes, you would probably win his heart that way too 😉
A typical day for Enzo entails: Waking up when the sun does (5:30/6:00am) to go snuggle with mom and dad, breakfast and medications, more snuggle time and weather permitting, you’ll find sweet Enzo outside all day, whether it’s helping with lawn duty or working in the vegetable garden with his mama.
If you know Enzo, you know that he: loves life to the fullest! Enzo is typically always smiling and laughing 99% of the time (We could learn a lot from him!).
What you can’t see here is that Enzo has undergone:
- A 9 hour craniotomy (brain surgery)
- 30 rounds of proton radiation (Thanks CHOP!)
- 4 months of chemotherapy
- Countless X-rays, MRI’s, CT’s, Ultrasounds, Vision Exams
- Still has to have an MRI every 4 months, yearly brain and eye exams
Enzo’s mom, Shiloh, on the hardest part of having a child with cancer: “People forget about you. It consumes you. They ask if you’re okay but they don’t always talk to you about anything else. The jokes, the texts to complain about their husband or a friend, or to show you a cute outfit- those all stop because they didn’t want to bug you or they didn’t know if you were busy or they just didn’t know what to say to you anymore so your life becomes so repetitive with “hey how’s Enzo? How are you? Do you need anything? Okay let me know!” And that’s it. It gets a little lonely. Almost like you lose your friends.”
One thing Shiloh wishes people knew about childhood cancer: “It doesn’t end when treatment is over. We still struggle financially. We still struggle because of Enzo’s immune system. Some chemo drugs and radiation can have negative side effects up to 5 years post treatment! I will be 78 years old and Enzo will be 52 years old one day with babies and grand babies of his own and I’ll still be worried about the lasting effects and a reoccurrence because I will always worry. Childhood cancer effects a child and their family and circle of friends for the rest of their life.”
Shiloh, on their biggest change since diagnosis: “I always tried to give my kids as much as I could before but after experiencing almost loosing a child I learned to love more, stress less and give more. The day my child passes away whether he’s 5 years old or 105 years old I want him to know his family loved him so much and gave him the fullest most love filled life they could.”
What’s one thing helping you guys get through treatment: “When Enzo was diagnosed with cancer my coping mechanism was slightly different than others. Naturally I’m sad. My heart hurts that my child has had to suffer. But for me I feel that everything happens for a reason. I was given this child with these struggles for a reason. He has taught me so much in life. He has changed me for the better. I know I have no say on how long he lives but at the end of the day I do get to make sure that the life he does have is amazing and fulfilled with pure happiness and joy. Knowing that I can give him happy memories for however long that may be, that makes fighting cancer easy.”
Enzo is another precious boy that we’ve come to love and watch his fight with cancer. Our hope is that YOU too, will take the time to get to know Enzo, his “cancer classmates” and feel lead to help find a cure for childhood cancer. And not just ANY cure, a cure that will not kill children in the process. Enzo is 2 years old and the majority of his life, he’s spent fighting a battle that was NEVER meant for him. At 11 months old, he began fighting for a life he hadn’t even had the chance to live yet. His parents, his brother, his loved ones, all were forced to live a life they never signed up for.
Childhood cancer IS NOT RARE. 1 in 285 kids get diagnosed with childhood cancer. I can assure you Shiloh never thought that would be her child, either. It’s imperative that we force our government to act upon further research funding for childhood cancer. As of today, July 9th, 2018, childhood cancer receives the same amount of funding it has for decades, 3.8%. Nearly 96% of adult cancer research is funded by pharmaceutical companies… childhood cancer? Almost 0%. You know why? Childhood cancer is not a profitable market. Is that not barbaric? PLEASE, let that settle in. Enzo and every child in this world, deserves a cure. They deserve a chance at life. They deserve treatments that aren’t 30 years old!
Thankfully, Enzo is currently doing very well. But as his mom mentioned, their lives are forever altered. Forever worrying about relapse. Forever worrying about future side effects. Forever worrying if a cold is really a cold or is it cancer. It is NOT fair. If you’re moved by Enzo’s story, I encourage you to donate to companies that are doing everything possible to find a cure for childhood cancer.
- St Baldrick’s Foundation
- Cure Childhood Cancer
- Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation
- American Childhood Cancer Organization
- Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Whether it’s $1 or $100… something is better than nothing
Please browse our website to learn more about Fourth and Gold, our mission and our heart behind our company and more warriors just like Enzo. 50% of all sales goes to the above companies to aid in finding a cure
#MoreThan4 #NotRare #EnzoStrong