Why Rob Delaney's Sharing The Essay He Wrote During His Late Son's Cancer Battle

"I hope this helps."

Rob Delaney's son Henry Delaney was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after his first birthday. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Unfortunately, the cancer returned in fall 2017, and he passed away in January 2018 at just 2.5 years old. 

A few months following Henry's passing, the Catastrophe actor is sharing an essay he wrote during his son's battle in an effort to help parents who are going through difficult situations. He shared the link to his Medium essay on Twitter with the simple message: "I hope this helps."


"I wrote all of this except the last paragraph in April or May of 2017. I changed names as well, except for Henry's," he wrote in the essay. 

Delaney recounts the bus rides he took to try to figure out what was wrong with Henry after he was vomiting. When his third son first threw up at his brother's birthday, he didn't see it as a big concern, but when it continued, the family grew took him to the emergency room. 

At first, doctors thought Henry could have a UTI, but it was later discovered that Henry had an ependymoma tumor on his brain.

The cancer was in such a position that doctors had to damage nerves during surgery to remove the tumor, leaving Henry with Bell's palsy on the left side of his face that made it droop. "But, the right side of his face is incredibly expressive, and that side brightens right up when I walk into the room," Delaney wrote at the time. "There's no doubt about what kind of mood he's in, ever."

According to Delaney the essay ends "rather abruptly" after discussing Henry's tracheotomy tube. He explained the piece was originally intended to be part of a book. When he learned Henry's tumor had returned, he abandoned the book proposal.

“I stopped writing when we saw the new, bad MRI. My wife and his brothers and I just wanted to be with him around the clock and make sure his final months were happy. And they were,” Delaney said.

In conclusion, Delaney explains why he is sharing the essay. "The reason I'm putting this out there now is that the intended audience for this book was to be my fellow parents of very sick children."

The Deadpool 2 actor explains, "They were always so tired and sad, like ghosts, walking the halls of the hospitals, and I wanted them to know someone understood and cared. I'd still like them to know that, so here these few pages are, for them. Or for you."

"But I can't write that book anymore because our family's story has a different ending than I'd hoped for."

"Maybe I’ll write a different book in the future," he stated. "But, now my responsibility is to my family and myself as we grieve our beautiful Henry."

After the outpouring of support he received, he tweeted that he was glad he shared the essay online.

The essay has other people sharing their own experiences with cancer and brain tumors and offering their support:

You can read the full essay here.

(H/T: Scary Mommy)

Cover image via Featureflash Photo Agency/ Shutterstock


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