The photo is enough to make you pause. And that’s exactly why Drake’s mother posted it. She’s not afraid of getting backlash for sharing her son’s intimate struggles with the world. She just wants others to know him.
"For anyone battling cancer or enduring chemotherapy. For anyone going through this horrible disease. It is about to get…
As news.com.au reports, ten-year-old Drake is fighting cancer. The fear and pain he experiences on a daily basis is almost more than his mother can bear. And that’s why she shared a photo of his struggle on Facebook.
Though she acknowledged that some parents might recoil from an image of a semi-nude boy in the bathroom, she didn’t care. She wrote:
“It is about to get real, real hard and real quick. The picture I’m posting is from this morning, and before you scream and cry, ‘Why would she post a picture of him in a pull up, the indecency?’ Well, 1. It doesn’t show more than swimming jammers would, and 2. Because life is not always f*****g politically correct and pretty, it is real.”
As she explained, the reason why Drake was in the bathroom in a pair of pull-up diapers is heartbreaking:
“This was this morning after carrying Drake to the bathroom. Yes, he is in a pull up because 75 percent of the time he can’t control his bathroom habits.”
And that’s only a small glimpse of Drake’s daily struggle. It’s impossible not to notice how thin Drake is. As his mom wrote, it’s hard to get him to eat anything at all:
“This is skin and bones, because I have to beg him to eat ONE green bean for supper, or drink a cup of water through out the day.”
And the physical difficulties pale beside the fact that she has to do something unimaginably difficult — help her son work through his very real worries about his own death:
“This is having your son sleep with you at night because he is afraid of something happening and being alone. And by ‘something,’ I mean dying. This is having middle-of-the-night conversations with a ten-year-old asking if he dies will he go to heaven and will he see his dad there and be able to talk and play with him.”
At an age when you expect children to be running around and playing outside, Drake is often too weak to walk or even get out of bed. Instead, he needs to be carried or pushed in a wheelchair. His mom wrote that he sometimes falls asleep, from pure exhaustion, in the middle of conversations.
Then there’s the strain that chemotherapy has taken on his small body:
“This is him, throwing up every medication I give him and him dry heaving because his stomach is empty except for the spoonful of yogurt I just gave him with his pills. This is having to take 44 chemo pills last week in a matter of 24 hours.”
Imagine the pain that his mother must feel when her son feels like he can’t take anymore. She wrote:
“This is him telling me, ‘Mommy, I’m not going to make it.’ This is him not wanting to be touched, because it hurts too much, and using morphine to get through his day. This is him telling me he is scared and thinks he wont see his 11th birthday.”
Under the circumstances, you can understand why this mom wants others to understand what she and her son are going through. She wrote on Facebook:
“This is him and me, telling him that I will continue to fight for him when he can’t. This is him and me, and our world.”
Seeing the boy, who is her “whole world,” push on through the pain, illness, and fear is a daily challenge. That’s why she shared his story. She concluded:
“From the moment I found out I was pregnant till future forever, he has been my reason for life. He is my smile, my love, my heartbeat. He is also my tears, my heart ache, my frowns. He is my life.”
Earlier this week, Drake was admitted to the hospital for extreme dehydration. In a Facebook update, his mom explained that he is in too much pain to eat or drink and may be getting a feeding tube and physical therapy soon.
The family has set up a donation site for his care, and they promise to pass on any positive messages they receive. In a follow-up post, Drake’s mom says she never expected that photo to go viral but is overwhelmed by the response. She concluded:
“Thank you for the continued well wishes, prayers, and support. Never Give Up, All Day, Every Day.”
Updated: A year after the photo was posted, Drake’s mom still continues to post updates about his progress on the Facebook page, “Stinky Joe’s #1 Pit Crew.”