MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - Neuroblastoma, a cancer that effects nerves, is the most common solid cancer in childhood and the most common cancer in infants. There are more than 650 cases per year in the U.S., and one local family shares their story.
The special little boy, known for dressing up like Superman, was aptly named by the community as Super Eddie.
"Little Super Eddie put up a brave fight. "To see his spirit, his energy, all the people at the funeral many of his family and friends they dressed as Superman, because he loved Superman," says Dick Vitale, local celebrity, sportscaster, and founder of the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Vitale attended and spoke at Eddie's funeral. "Watching a mom and dad put their child to rest...there is nothing, there is nothing worse than that, and here we are in a holiday season, my heart breaks for them, breaks for them."
Craig Livingston, Eddie's dad, couldn't hold back tears as he spoke of his son's battle with cancer. "It was a tough battle, two and a half years of intense treatment," he said.
Mom Jeanine explained what Eddie endured. "Four surgeries, twenty rounds of chemo, radiation, immuno-therapy, scans and pokes," she said. "Most were performed without anesthesia." And there were more treatments but Eddie went through them like a trooper with the promise that they would return home sooner.
But, something else was harder for the brave little boy, said his dad. "Not being home, being away from your siblings." Livingston explained that they were the ones holding it together. He added, "Without them, life just seems meaningless.
Mom Jeanine says her mission now is to raise awareness. "We want people to know that pediatric cancer is the number one killer in children by disease, and that its grossly under funded. Seven children will die today, and that's seven too many."
Eddie's stage-four cancer was discovered because of a limp, it spread to his bones, and now he's gone.
Vitale said there are more disturbing numbers that are hard to comprehend. "One out of five children that come down with cancer don't make it. That's incredible, that's unbelievable." He added, "My heart breaks for them, breaks for them."
Vitale started the Eddie Livingston Research Grant, which is part of the V Foundation and donates funds raised to pediatric cancer research.
Coincidentally, the day ABC 7 reported this story, Vitale was presented with a $50,000 check for the Eddie Livingston Research Grant through a private donor. A family with a little girl.
Eddie's parents said no child should ever go through cancer, no parents should ever bury a child.