This is the emotional moment when a mother was ordered to hand over custody of her young son to child protective services because she tried to hald the boy from undergoing chemotherapy.
An emotional Candace Gunderson hugged her son Nick, 13, in a New York airport just days after the boy failed to show up for a scheduled treatment at an NYU hospital, prompting Suffolk County Child Protective Services to obtain a court order forcing him to receive chemotherapy.
Nick was diagnosed with leukemia in June, and Gunderson was vocal about not wanting her child to receive chemotherapy from the start.
Gunderson agreed to the first round of chemo after doctors forced her hand by claiming that child protective services would take custody of the boy if she did not sign the consent form and get a court to order the treatment she told ABC 7.
Nick then spent a month in the hospital, during which time Gunderson claims the boy ‘lost over 20 percent of his body weight,’ ‘developed typhlitis,’ ‘had fluid in both his lungs’ and ‘stopped breathing on numerous occasions’ according to his mother.
Nick then received outpatient treatment until the end of August, at which time doctors decided that the boy should be admitted for more chemotherapy.
It was too much for Gunderson, who refused to admit her son to the hospital.
At that point, a doctor at Cohen Children’s Medical Center contacted Child Protective Services and a few days later Nick was taken from his home at 3:30am as the family was gathered together for Labor Day Weekend.
Nick then spent over a month in the hospital, but in mid-October he was given a clean bill of health by doctors at NYU Winthrop, where his mother had him transferred after his previous facility called CPS.
Gunderson then decided to take her son to Florida and seek out alternative treatments, despite the fact that she told her son would need to undergo three years of chemotherapy.
That is the standard in cases like Nick’s but did not sit well with his mother, who is a holistic wellness coach.
Once again, Nick did not show up for his appointment, and once again CPS got involved in the case.
This time however CPS took custody of the boy from his family and put him on court-ordered chemotherapy treatment.
Gunderson described the heartbreaking days before she handed over his son on a GoFundMe page which has so far raised over $30,000 for Nick.
And more recently, she described the joy she felt getting to reunite with the boy briefly upon his return to New York.
‘OMG… I rushed to the airport from the courthouse to see Nick before he was taken into CPS custody. After almost one week of being away from each other, Nick ran to me at lightning speed,’ wrote Gunderson.
‘I cried my eyes out for what seemed like forever as we hugged in the middle of the airport.’
Gunderson also claimed that she was threatened with possible time behind bars during the transition.
‘I want him to have a long healthy life and I want him to have that opportunity. If he is forced to do this chemotherapy treatment for the next three years that’s not what will happen,’ said Gunderson in her interview with ABC 7.
‘I feel we should be allowed to have choices especially when they’re less toxic.’
Nick is also not happy with the current situation, which will have him placed in foster care after his treatment.
‘They basically took me away from my parents and that’s unnecessary because they’re trying to help me and they’re not trying to kill me,’ said the young boy.
‘I think that they should focus on other families that actually need help and whose children lives are actually in danger.’
As for the chemotherapy, he said: ‘It makes me feel not good at all. I’d rather do something that makes me feel good and that helps me.’
The hospital would not comment on private patient information while Suffolk County Child Protective Services stated that it was following the law.