This site was launched to keep in close touch with all of our friends and family who have been so faithful in prayer for Amos. Thank you. At first, we had been distributing daily emails to a long chain of people and at a certain point it made more sense to centralize things here on this site. Please feel free to sign up for updates whenever we post using the box at the right. You can also get in touch with us for any reason using the email address listed to the right, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of you know Amos well. You are family or friends from any number of our communities. Although he turned four years old in May 2016, Amos has so many people in his life who care for him and love him. This has become so clear to us ever since late June when we began to learn about his health, and our family began to receive so much support from people near and far.
Amos was born in 2012 in Abington, PA, in the same hospital as his daddy. At the time, Kelli and Will were both completing masters degrees – Amos arrived just in time for finals! He has always been such a joy to us. When Amos was just a year and a half old, our family began making plans to move to England. The following summer, we packed up our things in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, put them in a big wooden crate, and shipped them to Cambridge for the next phase. It was a big summer, not least of all because Amos became a big brother! Lucas Ross was born in July of 2014, right into the whirlwind of our moving process.
Amos and Luke truly love living in England. The wonderful communities we have joined since moving there have become so important to us. We quickly settled into our church family at Christ Church Cambridge and our “academic” family at Tyndale House, and have become close friends with so many.
Some of Amos’ favorite things when in Cambridge include trips to the many parks in town, especially Petersfield Park or Parker’s Piece, which are just down the road from our house. He also loves the “Pirate Park” just by the River Cam, and is always glad to go to the University Botanical Gardens with Kelli, Luke, and usually a few good friends too. Amos is a very gifted scooter-rider, and can zip around town very handily. He’s also astoundingly coordinated and can run and kick a “football” in ways daddy was never quite able to master. Amos also got a fabulous red bicycle for his third birthday, with firemen on it, and he has loved getting to ride it up and down our street.
Amos has been playing instruments since he was about two, and is a proud owner of a nearly full-sized guitar, ukulele, fiddle, kazoo, recorder, tambourine, harmonica, various shakers and bangers, and will turn anything he can find into a drum. He is very fond of listening to hymns, bluegrass, or anything you can tap along with.
Amos is also sharp as a whip. He loves to read with you and especially loves, besides his Jesus Storybook Bible, anything by Julia Donaldson. When he can’t rope someone into reading with him, Amos loves audiobooks, and will often spontaneously recite dramatic passages at length, especially from The Gruffalo. This is a delight to hear, as Amos has developed something of a British accent during our time in Cambridge, thanks in part to his favorite babysitter as well as his favorite show (and books), Kipper the Dog. Around Christmas, Amos began to learn “his questions,” drawn from a children’s catechism, and by June he had learned the first thirty. If you don’t believe it, watch him do his questions:
For about two months prior to arriving in California in June 2015 for our month-long “holiday,” Amos had been periodically vomiting. It was fairly unpredictable and not that frequent – maybe once every other week or so. There are food allergies in the family, so we began tracking Amos’ diet to see if we found any common denominators. By the time we were ready to head to California, we’d had no success identifying anything. The night before we flew, Amos threw up his whole dinner. It wasn’t unprecedented, but he had already thrown up once or twice that week. The following day in the airport, Amos threw up three times, but then bounced back and did fine the entire twelve-hour flight to San Diego.
In the next week Amos began to throw up more and more, until he was doing it three to six times a day. By the fourth day, we took him to a doctor, and then another. He got a stool test to search for dietary issues, and a stomach virus or food allergy were top suspects for our otherwise uncertain doctors. Amos always revived immediately after vomiting, however, so we were never quite sure how serious anything was, and Will went as planned to Lexington for a good friend’s wedding. The day afterwards, Kelli took Amos to the emergency room because Amos was so drowsy and unresponsive, mostly to get an IV for hydration and a round of antibiotics. After a blood test came back negative, meaning that he had no stomach virus, the emergency room doctor ordered a CT scan just for good measure. That was when we discovered the tumor.
By the time Will had returned to California, less than 16 hours later, Amos was forty minutes from brain surgery in one of the top two pediatric oncology units in the world. Amid the chaos of this situation, when we learned that the tumor was cancerous and has likely been there since his was born, we know that God orchestrated every detail of this ordeal to bring us to the right place at the right time. The team at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County is incredible, and Amos has received world-class treatment from the start of this entire journey. The Lord has had this in hand from all eternity.
Two brain surgeries later, Amos endured six weeks of radiation, followed by four months of chemotherapy, which ended on Christmas Eve 2015. Since then, Amos has been working on physical therapy of almost every sort, regaining his strength and abilities. The Lord has been so faithful through all of this. Many factors are yet to be decided, but we hope to get back to Cambridge by September 2016, if not sooner. At that point, Will plans to continue his doctoral research, which has been on hold since June 2015 and which is why we moved to England to begin with.
We hope that this blog will be a great way to keep in close contact with all of you who have been so faithful in prayer on his behalf in these difficult days. We thank the Lord for each of you.
With love in Christ,
The Ross Family
Some Pictures of Amos
Also, Amos is kind, curious, and handsome. In case you hadn’t noticed the last one, here’s proof. (Click to scroll through more easily):