As you may know, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We’ve asked the Burkhardt family to write down a few thoughts about their journey– and life after diagnosis and treatment of their son Justin.
My name is Phil Burkhardt, the father of Justin Burkhardt who has been a patient of Dr. Bernstein since February 6th , 2009 after being diagnosed with Leukemia at 10 years of age. Needless to say, the last three years and eight months or so have been the most trying and scary times of our lives.
I’ll never forget the night of Justin’s diagnosis. Dr B. hugged my wife and helped both of us through the shock we encountered in the hospital room. Honestly, we didn’t know what was really coming next, and he told her it’s going to be OK.
Fast forward a few years later and Justin is now done with treatment! He took his last chemo pill May 27, 2012 at the house and what a celebration it was that weekend. It’s amazing to us and still a little scary at the same time.
That being said, it has also inspired me to try to give back and help Cure 4 the Kids Foundation. We’ve met so many courageous children and families through our time so I decided to form a non- profit organization called MY HEROES. The name is evident. These kids and their siblings (our youngest son Dillan was named Sibling of the Year last year, what an honor for him from the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation) are truly MY HEROES and I can only hope to be as strong and brave as them some day.
We just had our 2nd annual golf tournament at Angel Park Golf Course on August 25th, where we had approximately 60 people attend. We had a representative from the foundation come out and speak at the luncheon, to explain what it is they do and how we can all help. I think this illustrated to the golfers why I am so focused on making sure I donate in some way to the mission of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, which treats children with cancer and other diseases– with or without medical insurance.
I am happy to say that we raised $1,700.00 for the foundation during our second annual My Heroes Golf Tournament. I’m looking forward to even larger events in the future as we will keep trying to do better each year and help any way we can. To all the guests who came out, all of which I have the pleasure of knowing and working with in the construction industry, you are amazing! Times are very difficult, money is tight and yet they all still came out to support me and my family and all of the kids fighting cancer, as they have watched and seen our family’s journey. Great people! I am honored to know them.
Lastly, the staff, nurses and doctors at the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada have been unbelievable. I know for a fact, they saved my son’s life and through that, touched all of us in a way we will not forget. We can’t thank you enough for what you do. I will do everything I can to have other fundraising events for MY HEROES, because that is truly what they are to me.
Justin’s mother put together a video of the tournament–you can see it here: http://youtu.be/PJRjnHlLt70