Teen gives up public school to care for paralyzed mom diagnosed with two types of cancer
There are many reasons why parents homeschool their children. But in Michigan, a teenager opted to be homeschooled so she could help care for her mom who has been battling cancer.
After Emma Burkholder, from Falmouth, learned that her mom, Jennifer, was diagnosed with two types of aggressive breast cancer—inflammatory breast cancer and invasive ductal carcinoma—she wanted to help her family.
The 16-year-old made a decision to be homeschooled so she could look after her wheelchair-bound mother.
“She was in a really bad car accident which killed her cousin and she was in a coma for three or four weeks,” Emma’s dad, Kevin, told 9 and 10 News of Jennifer’s condition.
The crash left the then-18-year-old Jennifer with spinal cord injuries. Years later in 2014, Jennifer’s large intestine had to be removed due to sepsis. And in July of this year, the family learned the devastating news about Jennifer’s health.
“They found that she had two different types of cancer being inflammatory breast cancer and invasive ductal carcinoma and it had spread to her lymph nodes to her body but not to her organs yet,” Kevin said.
“Because my mom is one of my best friends it was very hard for me and you know when someone gets diagnosed with cancer you immediately think that they’re not going make it [sic],” Emma said.
That’s when Emma decided to help out.
“I know that if something were to happen I know what to do where as a nurse or something may not know the specifics of my mom,” Emma explained.
And to have someone at home to take care of Jennifer gives Kevin a “peace of mind.”
“That way somebody would be home for Jen because sometimes she has problems falling out of her chair and just to have somebody here like Emma that knows Jennifer and knows all of her elements and things that happen,” he said.
For Emma, the choice to stay home was not a difficult sacrifice to make.
“I would gladly give up this little part of my life to help my mom,” Emma added.
What a selfless act Emma has made for the family, and one her mom surely appreciates.
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