One morning in the summer of 2013, Alyssa awoke to discover she couldn’t walk. The pain was intense and persistent. What her family thought was growing pains continued beyond that morning and into the next and the next.
Many visits to the doctor and many misdiagnoses later, the young girl and her family got terrible news. The pain was being caused by a tumor in her femur, specifically Ewing sarcoma.
“Her first response was, ‘Are you sure?’ as they had been wrong twice before,” her parents, Michella and Harold, said. “She cried but just said, ‘OK, what now?’”
That’s been her attitude ever since — always looking toward the next step.
She had 115 doses of chemotherapy, nine blood transfusions and five surgeries that replaced most of her femur with titanium. Alyssa dubbed December 16 — which was the day of her biggest surgery — her leg’s birthday.
Now the resilient girl with a love for all things pink and sparkly shows no evidence of disease.
Alyssa and her family attended a St. Baldrick’s shave at Seattle Children’s, where her doctor shaved his head. She thought that was neat, but was most impressed by a fellow cancer survivor who braved the shave.
As her parents said, “He was so amazing and Alyssa couldn’t believe after working so hard to get his hair back that he would willingly let it go.”
Alyssa is ready to move forward. The seventh-grader is up and about on her “bionic” leg, getting stronger by the day.
Alyssa is one of five St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2016 Ambassadors, representing the thousands of kids touched by cancer each year.