On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
81°
Cloudy
H 80° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    81°
    Current Conditions
    Cloudy. H 80° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    67°
    Morning
    Cloudy. H 80° L 66°
  • cloudy-day
    78°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 81° L 61°
Listen
Pause
Error

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Charity
To a dark place and back: Carolina Parson's story of surviving cancer
Close

To a dark place and back: Carolina Parson's story of surviving cancer

To a dark place and back: Carolina Parson's story of surviving cancer
Carolina Parson is now 9  years-old.  She had a brain tumor removed in early 2014.

To a dark place and back: Carolina Parson's story of surviving cancer

Every family affected by child cancer has a unique journey, yet they all share something in common: they all begin with heartbreak and fear.

In an instant, a completely normal life full of schoolwork and playdates suddenly turns into dozens of hospital visits and procedures.

Carolina Parson and her family experienced this two years ago in Jacksonville when she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor.

“The unknowns,” says her father Kris.  “You have no idea what to expect.”

Carolina’s mother Tabatha remembers what she was thinking in early 2014 when she first walked into Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“Walking in there not knowing what in the world,” she says.  “All we know is we just had a tumor removed and not knowing what to expect and what you’re going to hear.”

Before the tumor was taken out, Carolina stopped breathing and became unresponsive.  Doctors had to drill a hole in her head to relieve pressure.

“We almost lost her that night,” Kris says.  “The brain tumor had shut off the ventricles that allows the fluid to go down your spine.  But God’s been good.  She went through an eleven-hour brain surgery the next day, and they were able to get it all, which is a huge blessing.”

Kris says they thought they were in the clear when they were told the tumor was removed, but they were far from done.  Doctors told them their daughter could not be considered “cancer free” at the time, and she had a 70 percent chance of survival.

Kris and Tabatha, new to child cancer at the time, feared for their daughter’s life.  They didn’t realize at the time that 70 percent is actually an amazingly high number.

“Perspective,” he says.  “Seventy percent…some people would kill for a seventy percent diagnosis.  It changes your perspective big time.  Other things in life don’t really matter anymore.”

The Parson’s sought treatment at Wolfson, Nemours and the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Carolina went through seven rounds of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of proton radiation.  Right now, two years after Carolina’s tumor was removed, every MRI and spinal tap has been all clear.

Now that life is becoming more normal, the Parsons have decided to give back.

“We would love to be able to help families,” Tabatha says.  “Encourage them, support them emotionally, financially spiritually – and just be there.  And we’re not sure where all that’s going to lead us quite yet.”

Kris says he remembers seeing single parents waiting alone in the hospital waiting room.

“Just heartbreaking really to see that,” he says.  “We just want to do whatever God wants us to do to meet needs along the way, especially for those that are hurting and feeling alone.  Child cancer can obviously take you to a very dark place.”

Tabatha says they want to do something to help families; they’re considering equine therapy.

“We are not immune to anything,” she says.  “Childhood cancer can affect any family.”

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • UPDATE: The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says 10-year-old Sam Booker has been found safe. ORIGINAL STORY: The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the community's help finding a missing 10-year-old.  JSO says Sam Booker was last seen walking out from his classroom at Long Branch Elementary on Franklin Street around 1:00 PM Tuesday. Due to the circumstances involved, police say they want to make sure he's safe.  Booker is described as being 4'6'' tall, 60 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. Police say he was wearing a red hoodie, blue jeans, and red and white shoes.  If you've seen him or know where he is, you're urged to call the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500.
  • President Donald Trump has announced he commuted the sentence for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He made the announcement at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to a group of reporters. Blagojevich had been sentenced to 14-years in prison after being found guilty of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Barack Obama became president, CNBC reported. Blagojevich tried to trade money and favors for the position. Trump told the reporters that the disgraced governor “served eight years in jail. It’s a long time to go,” CNN reported. Trump also tied Blagojevich’s prosecution to former FBI Director James Comey who is a friend of Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney in Illinois who prosecuted Blagojevich, a Democrat. “It was a prosecution by the same people -- Comey, Fitzpatrick -- the same group,” the president said, according to CNN. Trump identified Fitzgerald as Fizpatrick when he spoke to reporters. Trump had said that he was toying with the idea of using the clemency powers for Blagojevich in August and before, but conservatives in Congress fired back. Blagojevich appeared on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” television show in 2010, CNN reported. Despite the connection, Trump said he didn’t know him well, but saw Blagojevich’s wife asking for clemency on television. Blagojevich had been serving the sentence since 2013, CNBC reported. Trump also pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, he announced to reporters. Kerik, who was NYPD commissioner during 9/11, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to investigators, both federal charges. He was sentenced to four years behind bars in 2009, CBS News reported. Trump also pardoned billionaire Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. DeBartolo pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges in 1998, CBS News reported. Trump also pardoned Michael Milken, CNBC reported. The news organization called Milken “former junk bond king who became a face of the insider trading financial scandals of the 1980s.” Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was fined $600 million, but the time behind bars was cut to two years after he cooperated with federal investigators, CNBC reported. Milken had pleaded guilty to violating U.S. securities laws, The Associated Press reported. The presidential orders came days before adviser Roger Stone is expected to be sentenced on his conviction of seven charges of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering, CNN reported. He has asked for a new trial. When asked if he would consider pardoning Stone, Trump responded, “I haven’t given it any thought,” The New York Times reported.
  • The Boy Scouts of America said Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the organization faces numerous sexual abuse lawsuits. In an early morning news release, the organization said it hoped to “equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in scouting and continue carrying out its mission for years to come.” 'Tragically, there have been times when individuals took advantage of the BSA’s programs to harm children,' the news release said. 'The BSA firmly believes that a proposed Victims Compensation Trust structure is the best means of compensating victims in a way that is equitable and protects their identities.' During the process, the organization’s programs, meetings, activities, service projects and other events will continue “for many years to come,” the release said. “The BSA fully intends to maintain its commitments to its members, families, volunteer leaders, employees, retirees, donors and alumni to the fullest extent permitted by bankruptcy laws,” the organization added. In a letter to participants’ families, the organization also clarified that local councils have not filed for bankruptcy and “are legally separate, distinct and financially independent.” It also stressed that Boy Scouts of America has ramped up background checks and “developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.” Read more here.
  • Officials are looking for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old girl at a park in Cupertino, California, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to the Sacramento Bee, the incident happened Sunday morning as a group of visitors walked in Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve. The animal “came out of the bushes and ... grabbed a hold of the girl,” Ranger Brad Pennington told KGO-TV. An adult who was with the group punched the mountain lion, striking its ribs, the outlets reported. The girl suffered minor puncture wounds, officials said. Authorities have closed the park until they find the animal, the outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • A woman in her 80’s died in a three car crash on A1A and L’Atrium in Ponte Vedra Beach on Monday night. According to Florida Highway Patrol, a vehicle headed north on A1A collided with a car that was making a left turn from A1A to L’Atrium Drive. A third car sustained minor damage from flying debris.  82-year-old Sarita May of Ponte Vedra Beach, who was a passenger in one of the cars, died. The driver, 74-year-old David Sparrow, sustained critical injuries.  The other drivers involved had minor injuries.  FHP says charges are pending additional investigation. 

The Latest News Videos