When David Wilkie of Smithfield was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in October 2021, he and his wife, Jessica, didn’t know how they were going to tell their children. “You know they’re going to be scared,” David, 53, said. “Hell, we were scared.” Shortly after his diagnosis, Hannah Sasser, a certified child life specialist with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, reached out. She helped Maxwell, 9, and Eva, 8, understand what their mom and dad were going through. She also connected the family with KidsCan!, a monthly virtual support group for children whose parents have cancer.
“It made it a whole lot easier to talk to the kids about what’s going on,” Jessica said. “The people facilitating KidsCan! are doing a great job answering their questions. It takes a lot of pressure off us.”
Since Greg Cox was a boy, sports had been an integral part of his life. From lacrosse to running marathons to waterskiing, he did it all. When he reached adulthood and ankle arthritis made the simple act of walking painful, he knew he needed to take action. After a second opinion and ankle replacement surgery at Duke, Cox, age 57, is back to the active life he loves.
After two rounds of cancer treatment, Sasha Zarzour didn’t think she’d be able to get pregnant. But with specialized care at the Duke Fertility Center and constant support from infertility specialists, Sasha and her husband, Billy, found hope.
“We wanted a family for so long and to know it may not happen was a struggle,” she said. “But to have a team who have helped so many people have a baby and who know how to support you, it helps you push through.”