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Jacob was 12 years old when I asked him to sketch what his leukemia looked like. I had no idea he would come up with this detailed and shocking image.

Notice the hidden snake and long dangling vine. Childlike images tell the story of his near death experience and clinging to life. Most poignant to me is the bee hive. I remember the seemingly endless “This will sting a bit,” injections he endured over a three and half year period of chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and spinal taps.

One broken horn, the other intact, exemplifies the devastation cancer had already taken on our family. You see, when Jacob was just a baby, his big brother Justin died of the same leukemia. Six years later, when Jacob started treatments, he turned to his sketch book as his analgesic of choice.

Justin has been gone sixteen years. Jacob is now a healthy teen! It is my hope that his beast image will serve as a reminder of the resiliency of children living with life threatening illness and their ability to find terrifying beauty even in the most challenging of circumstances.

A portion of the proceeds for every Kill the Beast product will go to the National Alliance for Grieving Children