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Mom pens heart-wrenching final days with 4-year-old son battling cancer

nolan cancer
Nolan Scully, who was battling a rare childhood cancer, passed away as his mother was singing "You are My Sunshine" in his ear. . Facebook/NolanStrong

One heartbroken mom is opening up after losing her 4-year-old son to cancer.

Maryland-based Ruth Scully had been documenting the short life of her little “hero” on Facebook, and shared a heartbreaking message last week leading up to Nolan’s death.

Her son, who had been battling rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer, passed away in February.

“Two months. Two months since I’ve held you in my arms, heard how much you loved me, kissed those sweetie ‘pie’ lips. Two months since we’ve snuggled. Two months of pure absolute hell,” she wrote on Facebook last week.

Scully adds she waited a long time to write about Nolan’s last days, and although it was “agony,” she truly understood how beautiful and amazing her son was.

READ MORE: Manitoba goalie helping to shut out childhood cancer

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“His last few days shined with how amazing my son is. How beautiful he is. How he was made of nothing but pure love. This may be long, but bear with me, it’s agony unlike any other,” she continued.

According to Fox 61, Nolan was diagnosed with cancer in November 2015 after having trouble breathing. The family thought he just had a stuffy nose. And since 2015, the four year old had multiple surgeries, bone scans and even suffered a lung collapse.

The final few days

Scully said that on Feb. 1, one of her final days with Nolan’s medical staff, she saw pain in his oncologist’s eyes.

“She had always been honest with us and fought along side of us the whole time, but his updated CT scan showed large tumors that grew compressing his bronchial tubes and heart within four weeks of his open chest surgery. The metastatic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma was spreading like wild fire,” she wrote on Facebook.

READ  MORE: Saskatoon family appealing for more childhood cancer research funding

The oncologist said his cancer wouldn’t be treatable. It had become resistant to treatment options.

“The plan would be to keep him comfortable as he was deteriorating rapidly,” she continued.

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Scully adds in those last few moments, Nolan talked about wanting to become a police officer and watched videos on YouTube.

One evening, while watching YouTube in bed, Scully told her son she was going to take a shower. As she shut the bathroom door, Nolan went into a deep sleep, “beginning the end of life passing.”

“When I opened the bathroom door, his team was surrounding his bed and every head turned and looked at me with tears in their eyes. They said ‘Ruth, he’s in a deep sleep. He can’t feel anything.’ His respirations were extremely laboured, his right lung had collapsed and his oxygen dropped.”


Scully ran to the bed and put her hand on the right side of Nolan’s face. And then she said a “miracle” happened.

“My angel took a breath, opened his eyes, smiled at me and said “I love you mommy,” turned his head towards me and at 11:54 p.m. Sgt. Rollin Nolan Scully passed away as I was singing ‘You are My Sunshine’ in his ear,” she wrote.

WATCH: What you need to know about childhood cancer awareness month
“Now I’m the one terrified to shower. With nothing but an empty shower rug now where once a beautiful perfect little boy laid waiting for his mommy.”
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Outpouring of love for little Nolan

That final bathroom photo on Nolan’s Facebook page received thousands of comments and shares, as well as many parents sharing their messages of support.

“I cried in my bed reading this. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain you have been in. I just want you to know though, that your son has left behind a bigger and more meaningful legacy in his short life then most people do through decades of life on this earth,” Facebook user Alex Rodriguez wrote. 

Some even shared their own stories of losing their child.

“I’m so sorry for your loss. I also recently lost my 7-year-old son to alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. It’s horrible. And everything you described is what my baby boy would do. He told me he will be red birds and blue birds. And that he would be able to run and play again and have free ice cream all day. It’s not fair. I’m so sorry. I know I feel lost, sick, numb. Miss our late night conversations. And oh how I miss his touch. Here he is. His name is Devin,” user Misty Mosley wrote.

Childhood cancer in Canada

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, although childhood cancer is relatively uncommon, it is the most common disease-related cause of death for young children.

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Between the years of 2009 and 2013, there were 4,715 new cases of cancer in children from ages zero to 14, an average of 943 cases per year, the society reports.

Between 2008 and 2012, there were 595 cancer deaths of children in this age group.

“Childhood cancer accounts for less than one per cent of all new cancer cases in Canada.”