A couple years ago in, I, I wanna say 2015. There was a book that was published by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, called The Body Keeps the Score. Which really looks at adverse experiences, it's severe adversity. Right? Those things that we would call traumas and how they impact health over a lifetime, sort of underlining what we found in this initial research, the ACEs study. Now the ACEs study has been replicated and validated many, many, many times. What's interesting about it is in children, it looks at what we might call the big 10, right? It does not go on, and nor should it have originally, it really was just very, very cutting edge thinking at the time. It did not go on to look at beyond the first Big 10. You know the impact of oppression, the impact of poverty, the impact of racism. It didn't go on to look at anything that might happen after your 18th birthday, right? When you begin occupying an adult body, but you're actually not an adult. I don't know when we actually become adults, but I'll let you know when I get there, because I think I get there before you two do, at least in terms of age. And so, it's, you know, it's an incomplete.
I began building all of our programs with that in mind, right? With that idea of what does it mean to be trauma informed, trauma responsive to the populations that we work with. And so this became over 12, 14 years as I was doing that work in particular, just became reflexive. Right? For me, there's a, I like to think about fluency, there's a fluency that develops when we work with a certain paradigm over time.
So, flash forward to 20 13 and my eldest son Joseph, who was 13 at the time, is racing through my house on a Monday morning, you know, half naked as my 13 year olds always seem to be anyway, and I noticed that one half of his body is just absolutely black and blue, top to bottom. And I called him over and I took a good look at it and you know, he had a great excuse for it. He's like, oh mom, I was wrestling with Tommy on the bus and Tommy was his best friend and three times his size, three times my size at the time. And he said, I just, you know, we just were wrestling. And I thought that's not what I'm seeing here. And in fact, I knew, you know, the kind of, the way that medical mamas, medical daddies sometimes know that what they're looking at ain't good. I knew what I was looking at was leukemia. And so as we moved through that day the call to his pediatrician, the trip to his pediatrician, that looks that you exchange with your pediatrician across the exam table as he palpates liver and spleen, and goes, well, it could be, and you're like, yeah, we both know. I mean, we were in the I C U by two o'clock that afternoon with a white count of 130,000. One lonely platelet. That's how I like to phrase it. One lonely, platelet doing its job, doing its damnedest.
And, you know, ultimately a diagnosis that meant three and a half years of daily chemotherapy. A, a really, really intense first year. So I, of course was able to step away. That was the privilege of my life at the time. Really step away from the work that I was doing, the leadership in this nonprofit just to take care of my son and I did. And I, I really, for any listener who's out there, I really do wanna acknowledge the fact that that was an immense privilege not available to most people, right? I had the privilege of my education that I knew what to do to take care of him. I also had the privilege of our financial situation, which meant that, you know, we weren't dependent on me for insurance.