Guest opinion by Nicole Chamberlin

Life can change in an instant for a family, the family members and the friends, both known and unknown, whether it be by illness or accident. Such has been the case for our family.

Two months ago, we were a happy family — kids in school, soccer games, and all the things that bring kids and families together — when we noticed some significant changes in our son Kealii (Bradda). We promptly took him in to get checked out and discovered he had a large tumor on his brain, called medulloblastoma. The same day Bradda was life-flighted to Dornbecher Children's Hospital in Portland and underwent emergency surgery. Bradda came out nicely after an eight-hour surgery. However, the doctors were not able to remove all of the tumor, thus, additional treatments of chemotherapy and radiation are required for at least the next year.

This last month and a half, we have been doing chemotherapy once a week along with radiation every day in Portland. We are now nearing the end of this part of treatment with a six-week break ahead before we move into intense chemo for six months. Bradda has done tremendously well and has an inner strength that is amazing for an 8-year-old to have. We have definitely learned a lot about strength from him during this time.

In the past two months, the Chamberlin family has many things to be thankful for. Events were held in the great city of Ashland by loving friends to help raise money for our family in our biggest life challenge. Those events and the donations have helped tremendously to defray the many expenses we will have over the next year.

The friends we have in the valley have rallied their friends and other friends unknown. For that, we are eternally grateful. So many people have stepped up and provided meals, cleaning, help with our other three children, etc. We just want to say thank you to all of you. We hope each of your lives will be changed in a way that will make us all better, stronger, and appreciate each day that we have in our lives. So many people have opened their hearts to us. We are learning well the meaning of friendship and giving.

As we enter our holiday season, we are so very thankful for all the people in this community who have blessed our lives. We know that we are only on the front end of this journey, but with the help of this community, you sure have made this rocky road in life as smooth as it can possibly be. As only a mother and father can know, this is not the trial we anticipated in our lives for our children. When only six in 1 million people get this disease, we know we are in special company. We believe we have Kealii in the best medical hands and will trust the Lord to pick up the slack and return to us a healthy son.

Again, to each of you, the Chamberlin family — Jon, Nicole, Kealii, Kaulawena, Kaili, and Kawai — thanks you for all you have done.

Nicole Chamberlin lives in Ashland with her family.