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#ThumbsUpForDec: Sarah Wroblewski's son Declan undergoes successful brain cancer surgery

Sarah Wroblewski's son Declan undergoes successful brain cancer surgery
Sarah Wroblewski's son Declan undergoes successful brain cancer surgery 05:16

By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer 

BOSTON - It's every parent's worst nightmare. When your child is sick, your life just stops.  All the things in life that seemed important days and hours ago become instantly irrelevant.  

Two weeks ago, our teammate and friend, Sarah Wroblewski got the news we all fear.  Her three-year-old son Declan had brain cancer.

One minute Sarah, her husband Bobby, and their four kids were getting ready for a new school year. Then, in the blink of an eye, their lives had changed forever.

Declan Sarah Wroblewski
Sarah Wroblewski's son Declan had surgery for a rare childhood cancer CBS Boston

It all started about a month ago.  Declan, twin brother to JB, was complaining of a headache.  Sarah and Bobby made a couple of trips to the doctor, and it was originally thought that he had some sort of cold or virus.  In the span of two weeks, the headaches got worse, and Declan became lethargic and unwilling or unable to go out and play.

This was not just a cold.  Mom's intuition took over.  Sarah knew something serious was going on.  They took Declan into Boston and imagery showed a golf ball-sized mass in the back of his head.  Doctors informed Sarah and Bobby that Declan would need surgery immediately.  Regardless of whether it was cancerous or not, the tumor needed to be removed.

Declan went in for surgery a few days later and after six excruciating hours, they got the news that it was successful.  They were able to remove more than 95% of the tumor.  With that though, came the news they had feared the most. The doctors believed it was indeed cancerous.  More detailed biopsies confirmed this.  Declan had medulloblastoma, a rare cancer, but oddly common in young kids.  The surgery was over, but their journey had just begun.

Sarah Wroblewski Declan
Sarah, Declan and Bobby CBS Boston

"This is treatable, but it's going to be hard," Sarah said. "We've got multiple rounds of chemotherapy. It's going to be high dose, intense chemotherapy. In-patient stays to start off with." 

More than a week later, Declan remains in the hospital.  The recovery from surgery has been painstaking and long.  Just today, he stood up and took steps for the first time.  In the last couple of days, he has started eating again (jellybeans and Sour Patch Kids are some of his favorites) and now there is hope that he may be able to return home in a few days.

This cannot come soon enough for Sarah, Bobby, Declan, and all his siblings.  His twin brother JB and older brother and sister, Kellen and Mallory, miss him greatly.

"The toughest thing is his twin doesn't know what's happening, but he knows his brother is not with him every night and that this is the longest they have ever been apart," Sarah said. "His twin just wants his brother home, and I don't know if he realizes his brother is not going to be exactly the same."

Declan has a long road ahead with several rounds of chemotherapy scheduled over the next six months.  There will be many more days and nights spent in the hospital.  Sarah and Bobby are comforted by the fact that there is no better place in the world than Boston for dealing with and defeating childhood cancer.

Sarah Wroblewski
Declan and Sarah CBS Boston

"We will find the joy in between the hard moments, but we will get through it," Sarah said. "We're trying to navigate this like any parent who gets this diagnosis. It's just one day at a time, sometimes it's just one hour at a time."

They have also been overwhelmed by the love and support from their family, friends, and community. Declan is clearly not fighting this battle alone. Hundreds of folks have reached out online with a #ThumbsUpForDec. A GoFundMe account set up for the family continues to grow. 

On Thursday night, Waltham High School (Declan's hometown team) had a yellow and gold theme for their home opening varsity football game in honor of Declan and to raise awareness for childhood cancer.

Please keep Sarah, Bobby, Declan and their family in your thoughts and prayers. 

If you would like to follow Declan's journey, the family is posting updates regularly to this online journal.

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