‘The whole world fell apart’: Family shares story for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 9:27 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Their son was just seven years old when Michael and Michelle Moreland heard the words every parent dreads.

In April 2017, their son James wasn’t feeling well, so they took him to the emergency room.

That’s when doctors found a 20x20 centimeter tumor in his stomach.

Michael Moreland, James’s father, recalled the dreading feeling.

“From there that’s where the whole world fell apart, really. Reality hits you and you hear those 4 words that you don’t want to hear. Your kid has cancer,” said Michael Moreland.

James was diagnosed with stage three embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.

The cancer started in his stomach but grew so quickly that doctors were able to catch it before it spread.

Michael Moreland said their family had just bought a new house and car but had to make some tough decisions.

He praised his wife Michelle Moreland for her strength.

“She quit her job and she took care of at least 95% of all the bad stuff. She saw the horrible times. The good times. And they were just that duo fighting it together,” said Michael Moreland.

James went through 43 weeks of chemo and 28 days of radiation.

His mother remembered what it was like seeing her only child in pain.

“Seeing what the radiation does to his skin. You know the peeling of the skin and you know the skin turning brown and blue. You know peeling like a third-degree burn. It’s just awful to see,” said Michelle Moreland.

With his parents by his side, James pushed through all his treatments almost without a hitch.

Now, James recently celebrated his 13th birthday and 4 ½ years of remission.

James said he is feeling much better and is thankful for his parents.

“It was really good because they support me a lot and stuff like that. So, it was really good,” said James.

James now enjoys going to school, playing baseball, fishing and visiting Myrtle Beach with his family.

“I like the beach, the lazy river and roller coasters,” said James

The family visits Myrtle Beach as frequently as they can and hope to one day call it home.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel will be shining gold every Monday night in September to bring awareness to James and the disease that affects more than 15,000 children in the U.S. every year.