Greenville family asking others to display yellow bows for childhood cancer

Kari Beal has the story.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and one family in the upstate is pushing for more treatment options after losing their son.

According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children. Yet only 4% of all government spending on cancer research goes directly towards children. One Greenville family is partnering with the nonprofit MIB Agents and asking people to display yellow bows in hopes this changes.

Michael and Bronwen Greene say their dog tucker holds a special place in their lives.

“Despite the grief we move forward with, he will always make us laugh,” Bronwen Greene said.

Tucker came at a time when they were dealing with a challenge that tears at the heart, mind and soul. Their 12-year-old son Ian picked out Tucker when he was battling osteosarcoma, which is a type of cancer that occurs in the bones.

“I will never forget that day that we found out,” Ian’s mother, Bronwen Greene said. “I was just crying out to god to heal him despite what we had just been told.”

The prognosis was not good. The cancer started in Ian’s leg and quickly spread to other parts of his body.

“Just having a conversation with your 12-year-old that he is probably going to die this summer,” Ian’s father, Michael Greene said.

They had memories of him playing soccer, baseball and enjoying time with his two sisters.

“We were talking about trips to the beach and just telling him how much we love him,” Bronwen said. “His last words to me were I love you too. And I am really thankful that he was able to say that. Before that he had not been able to communicate much.”

In May of 2020 Ian Greene passed away. Words can’t describe the pain the family still endures to this day. But the possibility of change is what keeps them going.

“The treatment for osteosarcoma right now is the same treatment they used 40 years ago,” Bronwen said. “The standard treatment hasn’t changed and it won’t change until more research can be done.”

Bronwen and Michael are both doctors and say other cancers often get more funding.

“Unfortunately, the rarer a cancer is, the less funding it gets,” Michael said. “Children usually get rare cancer, and cancer happens more in adults than children. So those get less funding because the more run of a mill common cancers get all the funding.”

It’s why Bronwen and Michael teamed with the non-profit MIB agents, which helps fund research for childhood osteosarcoma.

“The gold bows give people in the community love and support for children in Greenville and other communities who have cancer,” Bronwen said.

They are asking others to put a yellow bow on their front porch this month and make a donation to MIB Agents for childhood cancer.

“It’s hard to describe how awful it is,” Bronwen said. “But we have to believe that God would use that for good. We know what Ian would want to do himself and what he would want us to do.”