His mom sits on a huge couch in the Amy Grant Music Room at Target House near St. Jude in Memphis, answering all our questions comfortably until he spots our camera. Then Damien Chiasson-Larson starts hamming it up, pulling all the cushions out from around her and building a huge pillow fort. Damien is, shall we say, energetic. But that’s ok; he’s a little kid who’s going through a lot.
“He is 5 so he understands some of it but we’re not sure to what extent he understands all that’s happening to him,” says Heather Chiasson-Larson.
Mom’s patient with him and says the staff is patient with the whole family.
“They’ll answer questions a thousand times over, no matter how many times you ask, she says. “Regardless of who’s asking it. And they’ll explain everything, every tiny little bit.”
Damien is battling a brain tumor. It’s a lengthy and complicated treatment.
“The doctors and nurses will stay with us as long as we need them to,” Heather says. “Whether we’re inpatient or outpatient, child life, speech therapist, occupational therapist, they’ll all sit there and listen. They could have heard the story a thousand times but they’ll all just sit there and still listen.”
Patients’ families never get a bill from St. Jude and Heather says so many other things are taken care of, also.
“It’s the little things, she says. “To not have to buy your own groceries. To not have to worry about that and to not have to worry about driving if you don’t a car…they provide it all for you. It takes a lot. Every little penny helps.”