Less than two months after celebrating the birth of her first child on social media, Shea Hicks-Whitfield, the much-beloved real estate agent on HGTV‘s “Bargain Block,” shared a stunning update: her infant son Beau has been diagnosed with cancer. Here’s the latest…
Hicks-Whitfield Says Baby Beau is #TinyButTough
Hicks-Whitfield was pregnant while filming most of “Bargain Block’s” second season with hosts Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas, so fans were eager for word of her baby’s arrival during the summer of 2022. She and her husband, Terry Whitfield, welcomed baby Beau James on July 29, and excitedly announced his arrival on Instagram on August 4, sharing that he weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz. But it turns out that on the day of their happy announcement, they were also digesting terrifying news.
On September 30, Hicks-Whitfield posted a sweet family photo and video of baby Beau cooing in his crib, along with a heartbreaking update about his health on Instagram.
“The journey of parenthood has proven to be a roller coaster of a ride, with Terry and I blessed to be together through the ups and downs,” she wrote. “The long nights and short days; dirty diapers and baby laundry; late night bottles and early morning feedings. Beau James has made all these experiences worthwhile. He’s the blessing we didn’t know we needed, and the angel we didn’t deserve.”
Hicks-Whitfield then shared, “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, which works in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital on pediatric cancers, 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 experts explain 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.
Hicks-Whitfield didn’t give specific details about the extent of baby Beau’s LCH, but wrote, “We have been blessed with terrific health care support, and our village has provided the prayer and positive energy needed for Beau to thrive, despite his diagnosis.”
“We share this message on behalf of the families impacted by LCH, and other forms of cancer that affect thousands of families, across the country,” she continued. “As Childhood Cancer Awareness Month closes, we thought it appropriate to add our story to those 43 children who are diagnosed with cancer every day. Learn more about how you can support the cause and please, keep our families in your prayers.”
Hicks-Whitfield included many hashtags in her post, including #TinyButTough, which were also the words on little Beau’s onesie in the video she posted.
HGTV Colleagues, Fans Send Words of Hope & Encouragement
Within hours of Hicks-Whitfield’s Instagram post, thousands of friends and fans had liked it and left comments with well wishes and prayers for strength for their family.
Egypt Sherrod of HGTV’s “Married to Real Estate” wrote, “Keeping you all lifted in prayer” and added two red heart emojis.
“Fixer To Fabulous” host Jenny Marrs wrote, “Oh my goodness, Shea. I have no words other than I am so deeply sorry. Praying for healing for your precious Beau. You are loved!!”
Many fans left comments, too, including someone who wrote, “Beau James!! You got this. You are strong and made perfectly. We love you guys and we are spending prayers to the family and encouragement. Hang in there daily Shea.”
Another fan wrote, “I’m so sorry to hear this, Praying for that beautiful baby boy and you and your husband as well as all those affected by childhood cancer.”
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital says treatment for childhood LCH depends on a range of factors and is different for each child, but can include surgery and chemotherapy. Sometimes, children improve without interventions, but many specialists are typically required to monitor whether the condition is impacting various organs and systems in the body.