You read the sad stories on Facebook. You hear it over the radio during fundraisers. Families all over the world experience unimaginable pain and suffering when their child is diagnosed with cancer. But none of those parents in the stories or on the radio though it would be watching their child fight cancer. They never dreamed it would be their voices telling the stories or their hearts breaking as they watched their children suffer.
Jayshree was one of those parents. Her little girl, Amelia Mae, was always happy. She loved her mama, big brother, and daddy. She was smiley and giggly- everything a little baby should be. As the Watkins family got ready to move across the country due to military orders, Millie wasn’t acting like herself. She was lethargic, not eating well, and not the happy little girl her family was used to seeing. They took her to the doctors and with a diagnosis of an ear infection, they were on their way.
But after a few days, Millie was getting worse. They stopped in several different urgent care facilities and ERs, only receiving random diagnoses of double ear infections or a viral infection. By the time they made it to Arizona from Virginia, Millie was still not herself. The Watkins family entered the local children’s hospital hoping they would finally get some answers. And they did.
After rounds of testing, the doctors told Jayshree and her husband John that Millie had Stage IV pediatric neuroblastoma. It was located in various parts of her body already, and she would need aggressive chemo treatment to shrink the tumors. They started her on treatment right away, but Millie’s little body couldn’t handle it. Eight short days after her diagnosis, Millie was passed away in her mother’s arms.
Since then Jayshree has been the epitome of a Strong Mom. Despite losing Millie, she continues to be strong for her son Kaden. She is a military spouse who holds down the homefront while her husband is gone, and she spends her time creating and hosting fundraisers for Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. Although the days are hard, she still has a smile on her face. She talks to everyone about Millie, sharing stories of how happy her little girl was each day.
The Stay Strong Mom movement is made for mothers like Jayshree. Moms who need to be uplifted, honored, and loved through the tough times. Mothers who are strong even when they don’t want to be. Mothers who Stay Strong.
To learn more about Millie’s story and how you can help, visit their website at Millie Mae Strong.