The Roe Family
In September 2014, Matt Roe was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease that prevented his bone marrow from producing enough blood cells. Suddenly, his days were full of doctors’ appointments, intense immunosuppressive drug therapy, and a frantic search for a bone marrow donor. “It felt like we were racing against the clock,” Matt says.
Outwardly, Matt’s son Davis (15) and daughter Mary (12) seemed to accept the news of their father’s illness with typical teenage stoicism, and were reluctant to accept anyone’s help, but Matt and his wife, Emily, knew their children must be experiencing complicated emotions beneath the surface. “Try to remember how you would have felt at their age with all the unanswered questions and worries that are too scary to talk about with your parents,” Matt says, “They try to be so strong during a storm, but kids need outside professional help to stay that way.” Matt and Emily made an appointment for Davis and Mary to receive free professional support from Wonders & Worries.
Try to remember how you would have felt at their age with all the unanswered questions and worries that are too scary to talk about with your parents.
Child life specialist Michele Martin worked with Davis and Mary in weekly one-on-one sessions. The kids admitted that the sessions went well, which, as Matt says with a smile, “equates to rave reviews coming from a teenager.” The kids completed hands-on projects, and they were proud of the elaborate posters, masks, and drawings they brought home. Michele was able to get the kids to open up about the realities of their father’s disease, and get their worries off their chests. Matt and Emily were able to focus on managing Matt’s disease, and let Michele do the “heavy lifting” of helping their kids talk about and alleviate their anxiety, and carry on as healthy teenagers.
Matt and his family were happy to find a caring, professional, “bright ray of light” just down the road. For families facing a serious illness, who may not be familiar with Wonders & Worries, Matt knows it’s easy to get caught up in treatments and lose sight of how the stress is affecting the children. For Matt, Wonders & Worries made a real difference in his family’s well-being. “My teenagers are thriving, and I’m so thankful for that!”