FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The New Year is off to an encouraging start for one Freeport, Long Island, family devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
As CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported, the Bladeses have just moved back into their home, allowing them to focus on an even tougher challenge.
When 8-year-old twins Elijah and Nathaniel Blades play video games, they could play against one another. But instead, they play on the same team.
And it has been that way ever since Elijah was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago.
“My sons – I tell both of them every day they’re my heroes,” said Karon Blades.
It has been a long journey for Karon and Lennie Blades. But it got far more complicated after Superstorm Sandy hit.
“You fall apart,” Karon Blades said. “It’s just like, why? You know, what next?”
Sandy flooded the Blades family home, washing away belongings and memories.
“I lost some of my stuffed animals that I had when I had cancer, and I was really upset,” Elijah said.
Elijah also lost the drawings from Nathaniel that got him through the chemotherapy. He cried, with Nathaniel by his side.
“He grabbed him and rubbed his back, and he’s like, ‘Elijah, it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK,” Lennie Blades said. “When I saw that, that’s when I lost it, because you try and you try and you try, and you say, ‘Why is this happening?’”
The family was displaced for two months.
During the storm, boats floated onto the front yard, and fuel from those boats seeped through the foundation of the house. The fuel mixed with about 3 feet of water, and the lower level of the house was flooded up to about here for two weeks.
“There were times I have to admit, for a split second, I wanted to give up,” said Lennie Blades. “But when I get up in the morning, I look across in that room, and I look at Elijah, and I look at Nathaniel and Karon, I thought, what kind of man would I be if I gave up? If this kid can fight for the last five years, who am I to give up?”
But a few weeks ago, All Hands Volunteers showed up – an organization helping a hundred families rebuild. All Hands Volunteers is a non-profit group that assists survivors of natural disasters worldwide. For more information about them, click here.
The Blades’ moved home Saturday, but the home is far from done; far from safe. Mold damage remains, and the struggle continues.
“Just like with everything we’ve been through, we just have to get up every day, and no matter what’s going on around us, we just have to keep going,” Karon Blades said.
It is the attitude that has kept the family going, and the attitude they have instilled in Elijah.
“I think about never giving up,” he said.
Elijah is out of chemo and with his brother – his best friend.
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