September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Throughout the month Sweet Nectar Society has been highlighting the personal accounts of the immediate and lasting effects cancer causes to our Sweeties and their families. It is our goal that this campaign will shed a golden light on our viewers and open their eyes to the fact that children deserve ‘More than 4%’ research funding.
The Saenz Family
Pattie and Juan Saenz became part of the Sweet Family in 2012 when their son Garrett received a photo session. Today they are sharing their story of how cancer continues to effect their family on a daily basis.
Everything really does remind me of Garrett. As I go through the day the small things and the big things remind me of my boy. From hearing anything related to baseball, to seeing a Batman symbol on someones shirt can give me the momentary feeling of happiness and love that I received from Garrett himself.
The objects that draw out the greatest emotions are the ones that actually have some sort of physical tie to Garrett. Whether it be a photo or Garrett’s do Buster who is with us everyday. I am grateful for these things as they ease my pain of not having Garrett with us and at the same time remind us what an incredible little boy he was.
Garrett’s mom and little sister
There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about Garrett. When we tickle Ella a certain way, she sounds just like her brother and it brings us so much joy. Unfortunately, Ella wasn’t able to spend much time with her brother. Since Garrett was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia only six months after she was born. But we try our best to keep his memory alive. He’s always on our mind and forever in our hearts.
Garrett loved his family, baseball, super heroes and his puppy Buster. He was brave and wise beyond his years. I do believe they give the toughest battles to the bravest warriors.
GARRETT’S SWEET STORY
In September 2012 Garret was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia shortly before his Sweet Nectar Society session. Garrett instantly stole the heart of his photographer who remained close to their family during his journey.
This little boy’s sweet laughter was a strong reminder that Garrett was determined. His childlike courage proved he was willing to take cancer by its horns and give it everything he had! This strong little boy was fighting Acute Myeloid Leukemia, yet still found joy in each day. His chubby cheeks perfectly introduced his happy toothless grin. His tender heart was clearly seen through the way he affectionately loved his little sister and parents.
Garrett received a bone marrow transplant at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in November and spent extended time in the hospital. During this time he and his family received a lot of love and support from the community, including a surprise game of catch with an NFL football player from his favorite football team, the 49ers.
On the hottest August day EVER in the history of the world (or at least that is what it felt like), Garrett and his family braved the heat to take family pictures. Garrett’s cancer had returned in April. By this time our photographer Brittany and the Saenz we connected- Garrett took a special place in Brittany’s heart. It is easy to see how- just look at that smile!
Shortly after their summer photo session Garrett was put on hospice. Dr. Sine and his team went above and beyond to give exceptional care to G and his family. Being on hospice care allowed Garrett to stay as comfortable as possible at home and spend less time in the hospital. Making memories as a family continued to be their top priority.
Garrett turned 8 surrounded by his family and friends with a celebration of super proportions. The backyard was filled with giggles, lots of running and jumping and the friendly neighborhood Spiderman- who came equipped with legit balloon animal skills.
A moment that sweetly stands out in my mind happened during Garrett’s birthday party. He had tons of his cousins and friends his age to play with but he noticed my little girl -who happened to be younger than him- had been standing in line for a balloon animal and all the big kids kept getting ahead of her- this birthday boy took her to the front of the line and told Spiderman she wanted a ballon snail. He got down to her eye level to chat with her while they waited for the snail to be done. This was the type of kid Garrett was- very aware of others feelings. Moments like these stand out and will forever be remembered!
Days before Garrett took his last breath he and his family had photos taken. Despite having a fever and not feeling well, Garrett arrived with big smiles and lots of love to show his family. This day was special- to see his family interact with one another and enjoy an hour outdoors with no distractions was beautiful.