KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) A Knoxville family is facing incredible hurdles as their two children face diseases that are rare and potentially deadly.
Darrin and Jessica Cross have a six year old son named Cole, and a three year old daughter named Hayley. Both are full of energy and love to run around the house and play, but both face serious medical conditions.
When Cole was two, he was diagnosed with a condition commonly called Brittle Bone Disease. When he was five, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.
Hayley has Cystic Fibrosis.
Cole has already been through brain surgery and rounds of radiation and chemotherapy to try to kill the brain cancer. Recently, doctors found two more tumors, one that is compressing his nerves.
"There's a lot of pain and leg cramps. He lost some bladder and bowel functions just because he was not able to feel," Jessica explained of Cole's cancer.
Cole has to carry a pump that drips pain medicine through an IV wherever he goes.
"It's my pain pump. It helps me from not hurting," Cole said.
His Brittle Bone Disease means Cole is more susceptible to injuries, although his case is a milder form of the disease.
"He just can't play contact sports," Jessica said.
As for Hayley, her Cystic Fibrosis is also a milder form.
But with two kids with three chronic illnesses, too much time is spent by the family at the hospital. That means lost work and pay for Darrin and Jessica.
A local group called Knoxville Pays it Forward is hosting a fundraiser for the Cross family on December 8th. All the proceeds will go directly to helping the family cover medical expenses. Jessica said if there is any money donated that is not needed by the family, they will donate the money to research for pediatric cancer research.
For more information about the fundraiser and how you can help, find the group Comfort for Cole on Facebook.