Shea Hicks-Whitfield, the much-beloved real estate agent on HGTV‘s “Bargain Block,” celebrated her son Beau’s six-month “half-birthday” over the weekend and provided an emotional update on her “lil’ warrior,” who was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer days after his birth. Here’s what you need to know:
HGTV’s Shea Hicks-Whitfield Says Her 6-Month-Old is a ‘Force’
Hicks-Whitfield was pregnant while filming most of the second season of “Bargain Block” in Detroit with Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas. She and her husband, Terry Whitfield, welcomed baby Beau James on July 29, 2022, and excitedly announced his arrival on Instagram days later, revealing that he weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz.
But on the day of their happy announcement, the couple was also digesting the terrifying news that Beau had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which they didn’t share with fans until revealing the news on Instagram in late September.
Since then, Hicks-Whitfield has frequently featured her son in her social media posts, but has not given many details on his health journey. But on January 29, 2023, she updated fans in an Instagram video celebrating her little guy turning six-months-old.
“Beau James is our Lil’ Warrior,” she wrote. “He’s experienced, and overcame, more in 6 months than any newborn should have to. Cancer diagnosis, biopsies, x-rays, ultrasounds, and too many blood-draws to count. We’re blessed that he’s overcoming, and our Sun continues to prove himself to be a force, this world will have to reckon with. You can’t have a testimony without a test.”
The video Hicks-Whitfield shared included special moments in the hospital after he was born, including one in which she broke down in tears, stating that she was “so happy.” In another, snuggling with him in her hospital bed, she showed off her newborn to the camera.
“Check out his gorgeous hair,” she said. “We’ve been here for a little bit. In the whirlwind of all things giving birth, and us taking care of our newborn, we didn’t get to introduce you to him! This is our beautiful, perfect baby.”
In the caption of her post, Hicks-Whitfield told fans, “He’s growing by leaps and bounds, which is a constant reminder for us to enjoy every second, minute, moment, and day we have with our Rainbow Baby. Time flies when you’re having fun, so we must be having a ball. Happy ½ Birthday, Mr. Beau James!”
The first-time mom also included many hashtags, including #cancersucks and #TinyButMighty, at the end of her post. Fans flooded her post with comments and good wishes for their family.
She thanked one who wrote, “Precious Beau! May he continue to overcome cancer and have nothing but good in his life!”
What Kind of Cancer Was Shea Hicks-Whitfield’s Son Diagnosed With?
Hicks-Whitfield and her husband have remained upbeat on social media throughout baby Beau’s tough journey, featuring him in weekly cooking videos and taking him to events with his “uncles” Bynum and Thomas.
When Hicks-Whitfield shared his diagnosis with fans on September 30, 2022, she wrote on Instagram, “Five days into our parenting experience, we received the news that no parent wants to hear: Beau was born with a rare form of cancer. Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare form of cancer that impacts 300-400 children per year, and our rainbow baby was officially in that exclusive group.”
According to Dana Farber Cancer Center, Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) occurs when a child has too many Langerhans cells, which are usually in the skin to help fight infection and destroy foreign substances in the body. With LCH, Dana-Farber’s specialists say that “extra Langerhans cells spread through the blood and build up in certain parts of the body, where they can damage tissue or form tumors.” Oftentimes, those cells accumulate in bones, but can also accumulate in the skin, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, lung, or brain.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital says treatment for childhood LCH is different for each child but can include surgery and chemotherapy. Sometimes, children improve without interventions, but a team of specialists is typically required to monitor whether the condition.
Hicks-Whitfield has been able to keep working as a real estate broker despite Beau’s diagnosis and is currently filming season 3 of “Bargain Block” with Bynum and Thomas.