Cancer strikes twice for an Apex family

Wake County News

APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — After routine surgery turned up a devastating diagnosis, an Apex mom found herself in the fight of her life, but that was only the beginning of the Fritz family’s cancer battle.

It just takes a glance around Tanya and Charles Fritz’s home to see their love for each other and their son.

“It was so important to both of us to just be parents,” recalled Tanya Fritz. “We had tried to have children for almost 10 years.”

They were overjoyed to adopt their son Ben and loved simply spending time as a family.

Then, in 2014 a routine gall bladder surgery led to a terrifying diagnosis. Tanya had ovarian cancer, stage three.

“When she walked in and said that, it was a pretty big bombshell,” said Charles.

It wasn’t easy for Tanya to tell her husband about her cancer. He’d lost his younger sister to leukemia years earlier. The hardest part, though, was telling Ben, then eight. “I was just scared and I just wanted my mom to feel better,” said Ben.

Throughout her treatment, Tanya drew strength from her family – especially her son.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me that God would give us this gift, and not let me live to raise him,” she explained. “That gave me a lot of comfort because I really believed that.”

Slowly her health improved, and the whole family began giving back, raising money for Duke Hospital along with cancer-fighting organizations. Tanya even began working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“I finally was able to get back to the person I felt like I was, with a positive outlook and knowing that I had a future and I was going to enjoy it,” said Tanya. “At the pinnacle of that is when we hear about Charles,” she continued.

Nearly five years after Tonya learned she had ovarian cancer, doctors diagnosed Charles with leukemia.

“It was an absolute roller coaster and it started with a really big downhill, and it was like well here we go again,” said Tanya. “How can we tell our child again that a parent has cancer?” she wondered.

“I was very shocked that my dad has cancer because he was so fit. He was going hunting, fishing with me. I wasn’t expecting that,” said Ben. “

But the Fritz family has done this before.

“It was just outstanding that my mom made it through,” said Ben. “When I heard my dad get leukemia I said, ‘He’s gonna do it easy.'”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to come through it,” added Charles.

Charles recently finished chemotherapy, and the family is looking toward the future. “We know we’re blessed to be here, and every day is a gift,” said Tanya.

A friend of the family started a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills.

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