Today, Gabriel Jesse Singleton, known to everyone as "Tater," loves dressing up in super hero costumes to protect the world against evil. In 2011, however, the Chatsworth, Georgia, toddler began fighting a very real, very evil battle of his own: Stage IV neuroblastoma.
Imagine waking up and learning that your seemingly healthy 3-year-old son could no longer walk. That was the reality for Lulu and Jesse Singleton back in September of 2011. Tater had been battling constant fevers, and those fevers—combined with severe leg pain—landed Tater in the hospital for a diagnosis. The Singletons had no idea that cancer would be the cause of Tater's pain.
"When we were told he had cancer, we were devastated and couldn't breathe," remembers Lulu. "We knew that life as our family knew it would be forever changed."
And the Singletons were right.
The first night they arrived home after Tater's diagnosis, the family—terrified of what the future held—piled their mattresses on the floor of their living room, seeking comfort together from the nightmare they couldn't wake up from. They had never heard of neuroblastoma and had no idea of what the next few years would hold. Fortunately, Wendy Ransom and Emily's Power for a Cure were there to guide them along the way.
"Shortly after diagnosis, we learned of Emily's Power for a Cure, and the group provided us with the emotional support and fundraising opportunities we needed during the early days," Lulu says. "Emily's Power for a Cure is truly an amazing organization that has touched the lives of many people."
Light in the Dark
For the next year, Tater spent numerous nights in the hospital and countless days in the oncology clinic at Children's Hospital at Erlanger and other regional facilities as he underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and antibody treatment, combined with several surgeries and two stem cell transplants. Tater learned quickly to cope with his new schedule of uncertainly, and Emily's Power for a Cure helped the Singletons by making sure the family could count on a roster of volunteers to bring hot meals to Tater's room nightly during his local hospitalizations.
Today, Tater is a happy 4 year old who wants to be a police officer when he grows up. His tubes have all been removed, and the family keeps a positive outlook as Tater is closely monitored for signs of relapse.
"We should all be more like our children—not only the ones who have fought cancer, but all kids. They don't let the little things get them down," Lulu says. "They fear nothing and are never sad. They find a way to see the good in everything and always love with all their hearts."