Episode 137: Cancer Mom, Amy Willits, on Pediatric Cancer Awareness

At the beginning of this year, the very first Sunday in January, I had an extra loaf of warm, freshly baked French bread, and my dear friend Amy’s face popped into my mind when I thought of who I could deliver it to. I ran it over to her house and gave her a quick hug as I handed it off, while she welcomed a couple of young missionaries into her home for dinner. The very next day, I received a text that absolutely gutted me – Amy had been in the ER later Sunday night with her 9 year old son Crew, and Monday she was in the hospital with him waiting to find out if he had cancer.

Crew was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, an extremely rare bone cancer in his femur. I’ve witnessed Amy and her family turn to faith, lean into the grace of the Savior and the healing in His atonement, and selflessly share their miracles with our community as they’ve seen Crew through this horrible trial.

Recently, Amy posted on Instagram that it was her goal to bring awareness to as many people as possible what the signs are of childhood bone cancer. Amy agreed to come on my podcast to talk about what she’s learned through all of this and teach us about what symptoms to pay attention to that could be bone cancer in a child. She also teaches us what this life-altering experience has been like for her family, what she wishes she would have known, what to do to best support a family going through chemo, what NOT to say, and some of the miracles that have strengthened their faith in Jesus Christ.

Today’s episode is brought to you by Better Help counseling services. Join over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health. Go to betterhelp.com/mintarrow and get 10% off your first month of counseling.


Time Stamps:

[01:32] – Amy Willets lovingly describes her family’s daily life before her son’s bone cancer diagnosis.

[03:18] – When was the first sign Amy noticed of her son developing cancer?

[05:14] – Amy recalls the timeline of her son’s painful leg officially becoming more than what she imagined.

[08:00] – When first arriving at the ER, hospital staff were confused about the reason. Amy explains why.

[10:59] – Amy talks about the moment of first having “cancer” be attached to her son’s leg pain.

[12:39] – After her experience, Amy shares what she wished she knew during the early part of her son’s leg pain.

[15:13] – Not all signs of illness are noticeable, and it can be hard to pinpoint signs of physical stress.

[16:44] – Amy talks about advocating for self and loved ones when in hospitals.

[18:28] – Here are examples of Amy advocating for her son in the hospital.

[21:10] – This is the medical schedule of Amy’s son going through treatment for cancer.

[23:27] – Adversity can teach you valuable lessons. Listen to Amy give her take on her lessons from this journey.

[25:46] – Amy recalls her son’s complicated surgery. She gives the details of what was needed.

[27:30] – The surgery was an absolute success. Amy explains the miracle that contributed to this success.

[29:00] – Relying on community added a boost to the medical journey of Amy’s son.

[31:57] – Amy says the cancer not spreading and her son’s body remaining in one piece are miracles.

[34:43] – Amy’s son is a very active kid. Amy talks about her son accommodating for the pain way before he mentioned the pain.

[37:12] – Amy shares how this journey impacted her son. She describes the changes of her son.

[39:56] – How can you comfort a child that is going through a tough chapter?

[42:34] – Amy describes how the medical journey with her son switched some aspects and emotions in her family.

[44:24] – It’s hard not to lose yourself in the midst of a tough journey. Amy says Corrine was a great strength for her during this journey.

[46:30] – When life altering events happen to loved ones, what can people do to encourage them?

[47:43] – Amy gives her thoughts on her feelings when people bring up her son’s medical journey in conversations.

[50:07] – Here is the one question that Amy feels people should not ask families that are going through a medical journey.

[52:42] – What are Amy’s biggest takeaways from her family’s medical journey?

[54:58] – Listening to your kids is important. Corrine and Amy talk about the trickiness of having intuition about your kids and listening to your kids.

[57:21] – Amy is grateful her family was able to find a specialist for her son. She talks about the difference it can make.

[59:32] – Some miracles are put in place before they are needed as all things are coming together for your good.

[01:01:34] – Amy shares a story about how coincidence and a friend of a friend helped get her son the care he needed.

[01:03:53] – Here is the major message Amy would like everyone to take from this episode.


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