WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — Gila Burgida says the hardest conversation of her life was telling her 10-year-old son, Bennett, he had cancer.
The second-hardest was telling his two brothers, ages 12 and 14, what was wrong with Bennett.
The Englewood family has come through a lot since that day last winter when a surgeon conveyed the surprising news that Bennett had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an uncommon form of cancer in children.
There were Bennett’s nine spinal taps. His five hospitalizations — a week for each round of intensive chemotherapy. Days of CT scans, PET scans and MRIs to see where the cancer was located and whether it had spread. All of it after an operation to remove a mass from his intestine.
While Bennett fought his illness at Hackensack University Medical Center’s Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, his two older brothers — Max, 14, and Aidan, 12 — thought about how to help him.