Local parent talks about the challenges of raising a child with cancer

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 19, 2019

Keondria Watts wants other parents to know that childhood cancer should be faced with persistence, not fear.

“If it happens, don’t be scared. Just take it day by day and don’t let your child see any fear in you,” Watts said.

Watts’ 3-year-old son Kayden Watts is a cancer patient, and Picayune Early Head Start staff has shown support for Kayden by organizing a fundraiser and blood drive to benefit him.

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“It means a lot,” Watts said. “That lets me know that there are people out there that really care and are willing to help.”

The blood drive will be Oct. 22 at the Early Head Start campus on Rosa Street from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Watts learned Kayden was sick when he had his dental work done. At first, it looked like Kayden had the flu, and he was treated for a stomach bug. Then the 3-year-old began having problems with his speech and sight.

“That’s when they realized that there was something growing in his brain that was not supposed to be there,” Watts said.

There was a two-centimeter mass in Kayden’s head, Watts said. Surgery allowed doctors to test the mass and diagnose the illness.

Watts was enrolled at Pearl River Community College, but has to postpone her career plans to care for her son.

“With him getting sick, I see it as me getting to know more about the field I want to be in, because I want to be a nurse,” Watts said.

As a mom, one of the biggest challenges is changing modes to be there for both Kayden and his twin brother Jayden, Watts said.

“You have one son that can’t do much and another son that’s energetic,” Watts said. “You have to switch and let the other son know that I am here, and I am your mother, and I still love you.”

To find out more about the fundraisers to benefit Kayden, contact the Early Head Start on Rosa Street at 601-799-4072.