There’s a song called “Savior Please” by an artist named Josh Wilson that has really made an impression on me over the last sixteen months. The lyrics are powerful and yet the music behind them is calm and soothing. The words of the song are simple but I think you, like me, will be able to draw courage and strength from them in YOUR time of need and will probably see, as you read them, why this song has meant so much to me as I’ve watched little Grayson battle stage 4 cancer. “Savoir Please” goes like this:
Savoir, please take my hand / I work so hard, I live so fast / This life begins and then it ends / And I do the best that I can, but I don’t know how long I’ll last
I try to be so tough but I’m just not strong enough / I can’t do this alone, God I need you to hold onto me / I try to be good enough but I’m nothing without your love / Savior, please keep saving me
Savior, please help me stand / I fall so hard, I fade so fast / Will you begin right where I end / And be the God of all I am because You’re all I have
Music has always been motivating to me through any circumstance of life. Music brings back memories of both good times and bad. Music is powerful. My name is Erika Knight. I grew up in Doug and Jill’s youth group and have worked with them, in ministry, for many years alongside my husband. When Gray was first diagnosed with cancer we started Pray4Gray.com as an outlet for Doug and Jill, as a way to spread word of Gray’s story, in hopes of accumulating as many prayers as we possibly could on Gray’s behalf and also to raise funds to help with Gray’s medical costs. Pray4Gray has become bigger then we could have ever imagined and while we are proud that our little seedling of an idea has turned into something so great we are also humbled by your response to Gray, the Everaard family and all that YOU have given in time, money and intercessory prayer for this incredible family. Often times, many of the posts you read on this website have been written by me. I pull from my time with the Everaard’s, from the conversations I have with Jill and from the medical facts they give me updating Gray’s treatment plan and simply put the feelings of the Everaard family into paragraph form for the public to read. They may be my words but they are the true feelings of a mother fighting alongside her son battling cancer. More recently, Jill has written several posts in her own words! I have loved having her hand on the Pray4Gray website.
The last update posted to this site was to inform everyone that Gray’s full body scan had revealed a spot that concerned his doctors. Gray was scheduled to undergo a surgery and biopsy to find out what they were dealing with. The doctors informed Doug and Jill that while this could mean the return of Gray’s cancer that outcome would be highly unlikely and they were quite sure that this “spot” was nothing more then calcified tumor or benign growth. Gray was admitted to the hospital to recover from his surgery while the family awaited the results of the biopsy. Almost a week after Gray’s surgery one of Grayson’s regular doctors visited him in his hospital room as a part of his regular morning rounds. During his visit, Jill asked about Gray’s biopsy results. According to Jill, as soon as she asked the question she could tell by the look on the doctor’s face that the news wasn’t good. She hoped for the best, but the doctor’s change in demeanor told her she should be prepared for the worst. That day, now only a couple of weeks ago, changed the lives of Gray and his family more then they ever thought possible. They are truly living any families worst nightmare.
As the doctor’s sat with Doug and Jill and explained what they found during Gray’s biopsy and what laid ahead for his treatment, it was hard for the family to keep alive any hope they had gained over the last year. Gray’s original diagnosis of cancer was shattering, but Gray responded so well to treatment from the very beginning. The treatment was never easy but Gray was making progress and that made the day-to-day worth it. There isn’t any combination of fancy words or sentences that can make this better and, honestly, I can’t figure out the best way to deliver the results of Gray’s biopsy so I’m just going to say it…Gray’s cancer has returned. Gray has been diagnosed, yet again, with stage 4 neuroblasoma. He has relapsed. The doctor’s said that for neuroblastoma to return so quickly after treatment (and after being in remission) is very rare. The days that followed this devastating news were full of tears, fear, anxiety and many decisions for Gray’s parents.
After such a rough month, the Everaard’s have decided to keep many of the details regarding Gray’s relapse private. They want to do all they can to protect, not only Gray, but also their oldest son, Seth, from as much of the reality of this diagnosis as they can. After much prayer, Doug and Jill have decided it is best for Gray and their family to do as much treatment locally as they can. Currently, Gray has begun a new chemo protocol wherein he will receive 4 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks. Each round of chemo lasts 5 days. During each week of treatment, Gray only has to visit the hospital for the first day of chemo and he receives that as an outpatient treatment in the clinic through his port. Then for the next four days Gray’s parents are able to keep Gray at home and administer his remaining treatment themselves. This form of chemo is actually oral, but instead of attempting to force Gray to swallow it, Jill has actually been taught how to pull the chemo capsules apart, mix the contents with apple juice and administer the drugs through Gray’s g-tube in his stomach. Gray’s current chemo protocol will be completed in April when Gray will again undergo another round of tests and scans to see if his cancer is responding to this new treatment. If his cancer IS responding favorably then this current concoction of chemo will be continued but if the cancer is NOT responding, the Everaard’s will then discuss further treatment options with Gray’s doctors, all of which would take them out of state for more advanced treatments.
Unfortunately, specifically with neuroblastoma, when a child relapses and the cancer returns it is much MUCH harder to get the cancer back into remission then it was the first time. The odds for a second journey into remission are not good. Gray has completed his first week of chemo. The treatment wasn’t easy. Gray has regressed back into the little boy of a year ago who looked and acted very sick. He is pale, very VERY thin and lethargic. Gray’s continued treatment has also effected his mood, which is to be expected. He is cranky and Doug and Jill often feel he is simply “done” being poked, medicated and, obviously, Gray is done being in pain.
I am writing this site update for Doug and Jill because they are simply too overwhelmed to do so for themselves. They are tired. They are fighting for their faith. They are battling cancer as a family and cherishing each moment together. If there’s one lesson Gray has taught not only his family and close friends during this time but an important lesson he has taught all of us, it’s that you have to live life to the fullest each and every day! He may be tired and sick but Gray is still full of life and he reminds us every minute of every day that life isn’t about quantity but instead it’s about quality. PLEASE continue to pray for Gray. The Everaard’s trust in a healing and worthy God is the one and only thing keeping them afloat during this time and they know, despite such a heartbreaking setback, that God is STILL bigger then Gray’s cancer and he can STILL heal their baby! All of your support, thoughts and prayers and greatly appreciated. We will continue to keep you updated on any major developments in Gray’s health and throughout any decisions made about his treatment. We all thank you not only for your support but also for your consideration during this time.
“All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.” Psalm 38:9-10, 15