“On December 26, 2018, we found out my son, AJ, had leukemia. For weeks, his top lip was swollen. Then it started bleeding. And then it turned black. He caught an infection which spread through his lungs and towards his top lip, which had to be removed. You can read about his cancer journey in detail in our previous story, or on his page AJ Turner Fighting Leukemia.
But on September 23, 2019, we finally found out he was in ‘complete remission.’ Exciting news, of course! I noticed in October, his hair had started to grow back. And we had plastic surgery scheduled for April 2020, with someone Dr. Richter went to school with.
I met up with both of them so they could explain what he was going to look like and the very details of what they planned on doing with his lip. They planned to do a surgery called abbe flap. We had waited a whole year for his plastic surgery to be done.
His ENT doctor, Dr. Richter, and I wanted to get his trach taken out before his birthday in March 2020. Sadly, the COVID-19 virus happened and none of that has happened yet. This has had me even more stressed out. Unfortunately, life still continues on, and you never know what’s next.
Now, on the topic of racism. I always believed racism never went away. It’s our job as parents and families to educate and prepare our children to function in a society like ours. To educate children about their heritage and to prepare them to face racism, discrimination, stereotypes, and a host of other race-related issues. So, one day, I decided to protest from my apartment complex, since it was safe, and show my son you don’t have to be in a big crowd to voice your opinion.
We made a sign that said, ‘Cancer is hard. Being black is hard… I want to survive both.’
Just then, a really nice man from the UCA police department, Christopher Vasquez, blew on his horn and turned back around to introduce himself. He wanted to know everything AJ has been through and said he teaches his kids to love everyone. I loved his attitude to show all cops aren’t racist or like other bad cops.
He called some more people to come by and check out my son. A really nice lady named Kaitlyn Weber, and a man named Durwin Lasker, pulled up and got out of the car. My sweet son ran towards Kaitlyn and gave her a big hug. We all talked about what’s going on with AJ’s cancer and the things going on in society today.
They were all so loving and don’t realize the impact they made on my son and I. He was so happy!!! I’m still a wreck from all that’s happened to my him. We have been through so much and still continue to trust in God and have faith. I’m going to leave it in God’s hands to let my son live his best life.
He didn’t go through all this for NOTHING. Black people in general face so much on a daily basis — job discrimination, police, racism, stereotyping and profiling because of the color of their skin, and the list goes on…
But I hope this helps other families and children have faith. Because AJ is an example of a miracle and proof God can change things around.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katrina Morris from Arkansas. You can follow AJ’s journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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