Mom Keeps Son's Memory Alive to the Moon and Back

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Doerr Family Photo
    Three-year-old Johnathon Doerr died seven months after he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

    A Fort Worth mother who lost her 3-year-old son to cancer has started a nonprofit in memory of her son.

    Johnathon's Rainbow Road makes care packages for children like her son and their siblings and educates people about childhood cancer.

    "We're going to do everything to make sure that it's not going to be the grandchild next or his brother's grandchildren," Terri Doerr said. "We're going to do something to make a difference."

    Doerr and her family keep Johnathon's spirit alive through photos, hand prints and a necklace she wears around her neck.

    Mother Remembers Son Lost to Cancer

    [DFW] Mother Remembers Son Lost to Cancer
    Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children, and more than 40,000 children are undergoing treatment, a battle Teri Doerr knows too well.

    "With our saying -- we always told him we loved him to the moon and back," she said.

    A mighty oak tree in her yard is a constant reminder of a loss that no mother should have to bear.

    "It's supposed to be the biggest oak tree you can get and the strongest," Doerr said. "They wanted something to signify Johnathon's courage and strength."

    Johnathon was diagnosed with brain cancer right around his third birthday.

    "He started stumbling," Doerr said. "I knew something was wrong."

    The cancer was very aggressive, turning a vibrant, energetic child whose smile could light up a room into a courageous soul fighting for his life.

    "He had a courage that I'm not sure where he got it from," Doerr said. "I know my mom's fighting cancer right now, and she said she would have given up a long time ago, but she watched her grandbaby do it, and if he could, she's going to."

    Seven months after his diagnosis, 3-year-old Johnathon died after countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

    "It's hard," Doerr said. "It's hard now to make our older son understand why he's a big brother without a little brother."

    September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Cancer is the No. 1 cause of death by disease in children. Right now in the United States, more than 40,000 children are undergoing treatment for cancer.

    "We miss him and we hope he's watching us," Doerr said.

    Johnathon's parents donated his brain tumor to science so researchers can try and figure out why his type of cancer was so aggressive.