St. Peter family shares child’s cancer journey

In the spring of 2021, a St. Peter family was told their child had a rare form of cancer. Now, they're sharing their story about the journey.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 8:18 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 8:20 PM CDT
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ST. PETER, Minn. (KEYC) - Cancer is a challenging road for anyone, and when a child is diagnosed, it can be an even more difficult journey for the whole family.

“Having to debate through treatment and deal with prognosis, it really is kind of adult content,” Erika Urban said. ”It’s something that nobody expects to go through with their children.”

In March 2021, Fritz, a 9-year-old boy from St. Peter, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. It was discovered in his jaw. It didn’t spread, but he’d need multiple surgeries to help him eat and breathe.

“All I could think was, ‘oh, God. Just, oh, God. Why?’” Fritz said.

For a year, his days consisted of cycles of chemo, surgeries, and long days spent at the hospital away from home.

Yet, his family says this tough journey never diminished his spirit.

“Fritz is larger than life. He has a big personality, and he is a comedian and entertainer,” Fritz’s mom Erika Urban said. “One of the most joyful human beings that I’ve ever met.”

Throughout this journey, the family says they have been able to see the good in their community.

“I ran out of ways to thank people, basically, because of the support that we received from family and friends and our community and coworkers and people we didn’t even know,” Fritz’s dad Joe Urban explained. “Thank you just never seemed like enough.”

According to the American Cancer Society, around 200 children and teens are diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma each year in the U.S.

“I think telling him that he had cancer was pretty much the worst day of my life to this point,” Joe Urban added.

Now, Fritz is 10 years old and started 5th grade a few weeks ago.

“It has been really great to be able to see him go back to school and talk with friends and do math and read books, all of the normal things.”

In this month of Childhood Cancer Awareness, one message from this family: a plea for community members to donate blood.

“People who are eligible to give is a tremendous gift to be donating blood that can be used for these kids and give them the energy that they need to go into their next round of chemo,” Erika Urban stated.