You might catch a glimpse of Emmett Lahr's "bad side," but only if his three older brothers are picking on him. The rest of the time, you'll meet a bound-and-determined little kid with endless energy and a huge smile, who at the young age of 5-years-old has already battled cancer.
Scott and Cora, Emmett's parents, knew something wasn't right with their youngest son when he had trouble going to the bathroom. After a sleepless night, the Lahrs went to the doctor, where Emmett was diagnosed with a bladder infection. A couple days later, Emmett still wasn't better, and the Lahrs came to Blank Children's Hospital, where they heard the word no parent wants to hear - cancer.
"Trying to explain cancer to a toddler who is in so much discomfort and not knowing the answers for him, ourselves, our kids and our other family and friends was extremely difficult," said Cora. "We quickly found we had to take one day at a time and trust our team of doctors."
At the same time Emmett was diagnosed, the Lahr family was coping with other family members battling cancer as well, making the journey they were about to begin with Emmett even more unnerving.
"It was heartbreaking, and trying to be strong and tough around our kids was not an easy thing to do," said Cora.
Emmett's treatment consisted of 43 weeks of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation, surgery in Iowa City, visits to the emergency room, blood transfusions, hospitalizations and many, many trips to Des Moines. Yet, through everything, Emmett remains fun, loving, stubborn and everything in between. Today, Emmett continues to see his doctors every quarter, followed by routine MRIs & chest scans.
"We could not have asked for a better outcome," said Cora. "Our team of doctors, nurses, Child Life specialists and volunteers are all amazing and hold a special meaning in our family."
As for Emmett, you can find him doing just about everything his older brothers do and ready to accomplish anything his sets his mind to.
"Our outlook on life is be happy, and the little things just really don't matter," said Cora. "If our house is a mess, we really don't care. We have our kids there to make it a mess, and that's the most important thing."