Keeping the Faith: A Dad Picks Up His Family Through Childhood Cancer

Keeping the Faith: A Dad Picks Up His Family Through Childhood Cancer

Editor’s Note: We connected with this post’s author, Rob Ormond, after seeing a viral video of Rob’s son Colin on his first day of school. Rob shared some candid insights with us on his family’s journey through pediatric cancer and we are so pleased he agreed to also share them here. Thank you to Rob, his wife Rachel, daughter Charlotte and son Colin for allowing us to take that viral video one step further.

A Blessed Girl Dad

I remember when my daughter Charlotte was first born. I had always wanted to be a dad. I was young, in love, and blessed. Honestly, my daughter was easy, slept through the night right away, never really cried, never got sick. She was an angel. She’s my little girl and will always be special to me. Before Charlotte I had my own problems, I was addicted to drugs and without getting into details, lived a very tough life. Along the way I met my wife Rachel and then Charlotte came along. I made a decision and committed to changing my life. The birth of my daughter saved me. After that, my goal was to just be the best dad I could be and I loved every second of it.

It’s a Boy!

Then, my son Colin came along and boom, one boy…one girl. Life was much different in many ways. Colin was the cutest, and still is the cutest kid. He was a harder baby, but honestly still not very difficult. To me, life was now truly at an all time high. Obviously life throws little things at you, but overall there was nothing to complain or worry about.

No Major Concern

When Colin was almost two years old we were vacationing on Cape Cod. Everything was great. Colin was healthy. There are minor things that Rachel and I had noticed but at the time thought were normal. He had bruises. But what two year old doesn't have bruises? And, looking back, he had a couple of bloody noses. But up until this point, there wasn't anything of major concern.

Life Changing Moment

After the vacation, we came home and Colin had a 104.6 degree temperature. We decided he should be checked out at our local hospital, it was a Saturday and I was at work. My wife told me they would be staying the night, so I went to go get her clothes. While on my way, the doctor told Rachel that he believed our son had cancer and we were being transferred to Boston. Life as we knew it changed at that moment.

Attention to Detail

We knew nothing about pediatric cancer. It’s not something I ever thought I had to worry about. Rachel was incredible when it came to gaining knowledge about Colin’s diagnosis. She would read everything and gather research online. And she remembered everything, every detail. We would look at the charts and work to understand them before the doctors would even discuss them with us. Being on a pediatric cancer floor, surrounded by children with so many different types of cancer for months and months really opens your eyes and puts life into perspective.

Being There

As a dad I always wanted to fix things and imagine that many dads can relate. When my daughter would fall down I’d pick her up, comfort her and tell her it would be okay. When Colin would cry we would hold him close, comfort him and he would be happy. With my family, when anything was wrong, I’d want to make it better. With cancer, I couldn’t. I couldn’t make it better. All I could do is … be there.

Strength and Acceptance

The perspective I spoke of earlier taught me that we can only control what we can control, if you will. Life is going to happen and unfold as it may. For me, accepting what it handed us had to be, we didn’t have a choice. We had to be there for our kids. We had to try to make Charlotte’s life as normal as possible, especially when we were in the hospital, separated. And, no matter how scared we were, we had to be there for Colin and be as strong as we could. This is why, for me, working to embrace acceptance was non-negotiable.

Picking My Kids Up

I’ve said for years to my wife, I believe my role as a Dad is to pick my kids up, literally and figuratively, throughout their entire life. As a baby, you mostly pick them up physically but as they get older I know I need to be there to pick them up emotionally and spiritually - to just ‘be there’, to be their rock. To me, this is really one of the most important things I can offer as a dad.

Not Always Easy

To anyone who is going down this path or may find themselves on this journey down the road, I would say, “Keep your head up. Find your light at the end of that tunnel. As best you can, strengthen your inner rock. Support your family. Just being there is sometimes what’s needed. It’s not always easy, but hold onto faith. As hard as life may get, seek positivity.”

The Need for Research

Colin’s diagnosis of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) began with us planning to start a trial that was developed to use less chemotherapy. But Colin’s particular cancer ultimately meant he did not qualify. Without critically needed pediatric cancer research, having new and improved potentially lifesaving treatments available to all kids with different cancers wouldn’t be possible. The more lives we save and the more we can improve a child’s future prognosis, the better. Without organizations like Cookies for Kids’ Cancer none of this would be possible.

Keep the Faith

If you are reading this as a dad or a parent or even a family member of a child facing cancer, I hope this helps. I can tell you that Colin is doing amazing now. And, he is in remission. Life is slowly getting back to normal. All we can do is keep the faith and trust that everything is going to be great from this point forward.


About the Author: Robert Ormond is a father, husband, and gym owner. He has a passion for bodybuilding and helping others. He and his wife Rachel have two children, Charlotte, eight and Colin, soon to be five. They enjoy hiking together, swimming, watching movies and going out to eat. Rob and his family reside in New Boston, New Hampshire and plan on living there for a very long time.



Postscript: Colin recently celebrated his *first* LAST DAY of school. Congratulations Colin! 


Want to get involved in support of our mission to raise funds for research to develop new, improved, and less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer? This summer through August 31st, join the Good Cookie Challenge! Learn more HERE.

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