WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Joy, love, strength and unity, are the words that come to mind when people see Robert and Laura Roush and their 6-year-old twin boys Donald and John.
“We’re a family with strong faith,” said Robert.
It’s been their guide through some pretty rough moments, especially when their boys were born two months early.
“We learned from the very beginning of their life how to divide and conquer,” Robert said. “And how to have a plan.”
They had to rely on that when the pandemic hit, then when their home burned, and again on May 24 when their son John was diagnosed with B-Cell Leukemia.
“It was devastating,” Robert said. “When you hear the C-word used in the same sentence with your child’s name it’s a feeling you could never prepare for.”
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we’d be going through this,” said Laura.
After spending several weeks in the hospital, John is back home sleeping in the same room and playing with his twin brother. He still has to go to the hospital every week for chemotherapy and he’ll have to be home schooled for at least the first six months of the new school year. Through it all, John remains energized, happy and strong.
"His strength is the guiding post for all of us. He is so strong and so brave,” Laura said. “He handles all of this with such grace.”
They normally go on a family trip to celebrate the boys’ birthday but they can’t do that this year. They also can’t have a regular party, so their parents and the community are planning a big drive-thru birthday bash. Pasco Fire will be there, and businesses have donated food, cakes, toys, signs, and everyone is asked to drive by and say happy birthday to the brothers. They are turning the big 7.
“The community has instill a lot of strength in us and a lot of hope,” said Robert.
Sadly there’s a chance Donald could be diagnosed as well, because Leukemia is genetic, so prayers are still very much needed for the Roush family.
“We’ve actually sat down as a family and talked about it,” Robert said. “But, right now he’s okay. His numbers are good. But it is something that will be in the back of our head for the next two years.”
If you would like to attend the party, it is planned for Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Hedgerow Dr. in Wesley Chapel.