When Holden was nine months old, his parents thought his low-grade fever was a cold or maybe strep throat but a simple blood test showed an abnormality and within hours of being sent to the emergency room, Holden's entire young life changed.
Holden was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), but this wasn't his family's first experience with this disease. Holden's dad, Josh, was diagnosed with AML in 2006 when he was 19 years old and carried the CEBPA genetic mutation for the disease.
Holden's treatment included six months of intensive chemotherapy and long weeks of hospitalization. ASK became a lifeline for the family, providing spiritual, emotional and financial support.
"We've been social distancing before there was social distancing," says Holden's mom, Jess. "Initially, we couldn't participate in the fun activities ASK offers for patients and their families because Holden was in the hospital of going to the ASK Clinic two or three times per week."
"We felt so isolated from family and friends and that's when the folks at ASK became so important to our family."
Like many ASK families, Jess and Josh had to make the decision for one of them to stay home to manage Holden's healthcare. Within days of Holden's diagnosis, Jess quit her teaching job and they became a one-income household.
"We were so worried about finances and then we heard that ASK helps families financially. ASK paid two mortgages and some of our electric bill. What a huge relief!"
"Our ASK family is always here for us. Whether it's surprise gift cards in the mail, remembering our birthdays or just a smiling face in clinic when we're having a bad day, ASK is always working in the background to support our entire family."
Holden's four year old sister, Piper, attends First STEP Preschool as First Baptist Church. First STEP was designed to meet the unique educational, social and emotional needs of young children with chronic illness and includes siblings.
"ASK is an amazing organization that provides such a wide variety of programs and services for families diagnosed with a childhood cancer," Jess continues.
"They get what's most important -- not the stuff, but the caring and connection. Everyone is so helpful and caring. Respite care on my birthday, mother-daughter spa day that made our daughter feel so special and just having someone who truly understands our situation is so comforting. Holden is in remission right now, but we don't know what the future holds for him. We do know that ASK will be with us every step of the way."