Will Olson, photoIn their words

Jenny and Brian Olson
Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In 2010, when he was 2 years old, we took Will to the doctor believing he was just suffering from a summertime bug. We went back in after a couple of weeks with no improvement. Will had an ultrasound and we were told he had a large mass on his liver. Two days later, we were told that he had Stage 3 hepatoblastoma (liver cancer). Our experience with University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital was nothing short of amazing. It was one of the most trying, scary, and difficult times in our life, but they just took us under their wing and were with us every step of the way.

When your child is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease like cancer, you have so many questions; the staff was patient and never made us feel like any of our questions were ridiculous. Will spent a lot of time after his diagnosis inpatient and had other issues come up in addition to cancer or caused by the cancer. He endured a total of eight rounds of chemotherapy, four surgeries, had to learn to walk again, and to socialize and not be afraid of people who just wanted to say hi to him. The hospital staff, the Dance Marathon students, and so many others have become our family. We had times that we thought we were going to lose our son, and we feel like it is because of the knowledge, expertise, and compassion of the staff that he is here today.

UI Stead Family Children's Hospital would be the first place I would recommend going if your child has a serious illness or if you feel that something is not right with your child. One of the greatest things that the hospital provided for us was listening to us. No one knows your child better than you do, and you have to be their advocate. They are wonderful about listening, being open-minded, and allowing you to ask questions. They have some of the greatest specialists around, and if they don't have the answers they are not afraid to seek out the answers for you. They understand that you are under a lot of stress and that you may not always be at your best. At the end of the day, though, you and the hospital have the same common goal and that is taking care of your child.

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