United States

Meet RSM Pursue Your Passion Winner: Christopher Brophey

ARTICLE

Tax Manager | Milwaukee, WI

Last year I celebrated several incredible milestones: my wife and I welcomed the birth of our first child and the purchase of our first home. A few months later, this was completely overshadowed by some devastating news: I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. This affected every aspect of our lives. I endured five months of chemotherapy, over a month of radiation therapy, multiple surgeries, and in total, spent more than four weeks of my life living at the hospital away from my family.

Aside from the anticipated ways in which cancer affects individuals, I did not consider how devastating it would be to my relationship with my son and the challenges it created with my wife. Because of the drugs and surgeries, I was unable to hold, comfort, or even be near my son for long stretches of time – to protect either my health or his. Initially, he would come to me, looking to be picked up or played with, but I was simply unable to do so.

Throughout all this, my wife also served as my primary caregiver. That meant at home, she not only cared for our son by herself, but she bore the responsibility of caring for me. She did all of this on top of her full time job caring for other people’s medically complex children.

Since my active treatment ended, I am slowly reestablishing that trust and bond with my son. However, because I was largely limited in my interactions with him for well over a year, I am making up for quite a bit of lost time.

Prior to my diagnosis, we had planned a family trip to visit England. Due to travel and medical restrictions, we cancelled the trip. To replace it, we booked a smaller family trip to Colorado this summer. Once again, I cancelled the trip due to an unexpected hospitalization. Cancer robbed me of yet another opportunity to spend time with my wife and son.

Throughout this trial, RSM treated my family and me wonderfully and accommodated me at all points along my journey. As my medical bills mounted, several colleagues attended and graciously contributed to a fundraiser organized by some friends. When my wife and I needed a pair of helping hands, someone at the office usually volunteered to pitch in.

Now that I finished my treatment, I would like to continue developing my relationship my son, celebrate my caregiver wife who guided me through some of my darkest moments, while sacrificing so much for me, and finally take that family trip to England. Now that my body has healed from cancer, my dream is to help my family heal from the trauma it inflicted on us. RSM’s Pursue your Passion program can make that dream a reality and help me create lasting memories with my son that will help all of us forget about cancer, and instead, celebrate family.