By Juli McDonald

CANTON (CBS) – Little 5-year-old Nelson is ready for a long day of treatment at the hospital. His brand new mask – made just for him, by a kind Canton neighbor.

“The responses I got were overwhelming,” said mom Evelyn Rue, who’d posted to Facebook asking for help. “I had people dropping them off, asking if we needed more. It was amazing.”

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Evelyn has been dreading these upcoming appointments. The monthly, two-day treatments are essential to slow the progression of Nelson’s lung condition Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome. But leaving the house feels scary right now.

“I mean God forbid, this could kill him if he caught it,” Rue said.

Nelson (Family photo)

Her daily decisions are to protect him from coronavirus. Just last month, Nelson was hospitalized after he came down with the flu.

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“I just felt at that point my whole world flipped upside down. I cried a lot. I was scared,” she recalled.

Nelson looks normal. He likes playing soccer and on his iPad. He doesn’t appear sick. But you can’t tell someone’s health story just by looking at them.

“This is a very scary time and I feel like a lot of people aren’t taking it as serious as they should,” Evelyn said.

It’s all of our job to protect patients like Nelson right now, by staying home. When keeping him safe feels overwhelming, all Evelyn has to do is look to the big, brave boy beside her.

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“All my strength definitely comes from Nelson, absolutely. How can I ever have a bad day when he doesn’t? As much as he goes through? How am I supposed to ever have a bad day? I appreciate things, a lot more than I ever did.”

Juli McDonald