Garrett was a life loving, extremely active, outdoor kind of boy. At 15, a tumor was found in his right thigh and he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Despite surgery and intense chemotherapy Garrett didn’t slow down. His friends would haul him around outside with go-carts or old farm trucks. Just as his treatment was about to finish, he and his family learned the cancer had spread to his lungs. This required multiple lung surgeries and much more chemotherapy. Garrett’s friends remained with him and there were many days when his hospital room was full of teenage boys.
In December of 2011 after a final lung surgery, the doctors informed Garrett that they were unable to remove the tumor that was now growing in both lungs. Garrett’s plan was to “GO HOME!” As it had been all along, Garrett’s greatest desire was to live each moment to its fullest. He no longer wanted to hear about blood counts and scans or see the sadness on his doctor’s faces. Instead, he wanted to be with his family, his group of “man-boy” friends and his golden retriever Ace. He wanted to be out in the woods, driving his 1954 Chevy Bel Air, and tormenting his sisters and brother. So Garrett stayed home. He shot a coyote, took the ACT, played in Lake Michigan with Ace, worked days on end with his dad, spent summer nights swimming and fishing with his buddies, and worked on his car.
When the cancer got really bad, Garrett firmly stated that above all he wanted to remain home and his family promised they would make that happen. That is when they contacted the Hospice and Palliative Care Team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Garrett’s mom says the team was invaluable providing support, counseling, and pain control advice. Garrett particularly enjoyed the massages from his favorite massage therapist. Garrett’s family can’t thank the Hospice team enough for “all they did to enable us to fulfill Garrett’s desire to be home!” His family feels blessed to have shared tears, laughter, and a lifetime of memories with Garrett.