It’s inevitable that everyone will, at some point, encounter some form of loss in their life. And as heartbreaking as it is, this commonality is typically a unifying factor in our shared human experience.

Few of us, however, could have handled their lot as well as Ruth Scully and her four-year-old son Nolan, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age three. Just after little Nolan’s battle ended in February, his mother posted an impassioned Facebook message on the Nolan Strong fan page.

Since then, it’s garnered over 600,000 shares. When you read it—after you’ve wiped away some tears—you’ll truly understand the unbelievable strength of Nolan and his mother.

About a year after Nolan Scully was diagnosed with a terminal type of soft-tissue cancer, he and his mother, Ruth, were forced to say goodbye. In the face of this near unimaginable tragedy, Ruth was able to find solace in how strong her baby boy had been, and how much he’d accomplished in his four short years.

01-nolan-strongRuth Scully

Speaking to her son’s supporters on the Nolan Strong Facebook page, Ruth penned a moving note about his final days. Not long after, it had been shared tens of thousands of times. “Two months. Two months since I’ve held you in my arms, heard how much you loved me, kissed those sweetie ‘pie’ lips,” the post began. “Two months since we’ve snuggled. Two months of pure absolute Hell.”

02-nolan-strongRuth Scully

“I’ve wanted for a long time to write a little about Nolan’s last days. His last few days shined with how amazing my son is. How beautiful he is. How he was made of nothing but pure love. This may be long, but bear with me, it’s agony unlike any other.”

“When I brought Nolan to the hospital for the last time, I knew there was something else wrong other than just a lingering case of C-DIFF. I just knew, and strange enough, I think he did too. He hadn’t eaten or drank anything in days and was continually vomiting.”

03-nolan-strongRuth Scully

“On February 1st we were sat down with his ENTIRE team. When his oncologist spoke, I saw the pure pain in her eyes. She had always been honest with us and fought along side of us the whole time, but his updated CT scan showed large tumors that grew compressing his bronchial tubes and heart within four weeks of his open chest surgery.”

“The Mestatic Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma was spreading like wildfire. She explained at this time she didn’t feel his cancer was treatable as it had become resistant to all treatment options we had tried and the plan would be to keep him comfortable as he was deteriorating rapidly.”


“The next day he was resting, as he slept most of the days after. We had hospice on board, all his IV medications, even his DNR signed. (I cannot explain to you what signing an emergency responder “Do Not Resuscitate” order for your angelic son feels like. ) When he woke up we had the van packed and I had his shoes in my hand to take him home for the evening.”

“We just wanted ONE more night together. But as he woke, he gently put his hand on mine and said “Mommy, it’s OK. Let’s just stay here OK?” My 4 year old hero was trying to make sure things were easy for me…”


The entire note from Ruth is heartbreakingly honest and worth the time to read. It’s difficult to imagine just how tough it was for her to put these thoughts and moments into writing. She finished it with this: “Below is a picture that seemed to grab everyone’s attention because my son was terrified to leave my side, even as I showered. Now I’m the one terrified to shower. With nothing but an empty shower rug now where once a beautiful perfect little boy laid waiting for his Mommy.”


Ruth said, “I look at everything he accomplished in four short years and can only think of what he could’ve accomplished with a longer life. But sadly because of childhood cancer (Rhabdomyosarcoma to be specific), the world and our family will miss out on someone so full of love, who just wanted to protect and serve. We HAVE to do better with funding, research, treatment options.” For those interested, Nolan’s family is still accepting donations on their GoFundMe page.

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