By Mary Hackett
It’s strange how everything can change in someone’s life in the blink of an eye. Tara Whelan’s life played that role in August 2011. Tara’s summer was occupied with being in Ireland for a whole month with fun-filled parties, new experiences, and being independent, flying there and back by herself. When she returned home in the great mood she was in after her relaxing vacation, she received some news that rocked her world.
Tara was informed that her father, Bill Whelan, a forty-five-year-old outgoing family man, was diagnosed with leukemia.
“ I just couldn’t believe it when I heard the news. I’m still worried for his recovery, and shocked by the situation,” said Tara. She added how healthy and involved her father was and how especially close she was with her father. Tara's the oldest of five, with the youngest girl being 6.
“Even though I am only 20 now, it is the shock of my lifetime so far and the most frightening thing I am still trying to accept and get through. I am the oldest child and the closest to my dad. I felt as though I was losing my best friend and although I am still scared, I have to continue being strong.”
Tara realized how “extremely weird and scary life can truly be.” When this devastating news hit, she just couldn’t believe this was happening to her and her family because everything was just going great.
However, after all the doctor’s appointments in the next few months, after the depressing August diagnosis and the chemo treatment, Bill received news of where he stood in the cancer stages. Bill was declared to be in the chronic stage, which was a little above the acute stage. With all the prayers, hope and faith everyone had, he was found to be on the less risky side of cancer. Of the two sides of cancer, the worse one to have would be the acute stage. The other is treatable, which is the stage he was diagnosed with.
Over the past two months, the chemo has kicked in and the white blood cell count is decreasing slowly but surely. Tara noted that this kind of news “turned her world upside down.”
Being that the medication to fight cancer is ridiculously expensive, Tara had to take on many more responsibilities and her personal money expenses into her own hands and adjust to the major change. This bad news was a very horrific event for Tara and her family that has taken a big toll in her life, but she couldn’t do anything but be positive and strong. Bill Whelan, from a small friendly town in Emerson New Jersey, is still trying to beat this cancer and he looks better then he has. Of course he still has his days, Tara said, but he refuses to give up.