It’s been over three years since 2012 Ambassador Sarah has seen herself bald. She’s breaking that streak on Saturday to be a shavee℠ for the third time. As a childhood cancer survivor, Sarah writes about what bravery looks like to her and what makes shaving so special this time.
Sarah (left) smiles with Honored Kid Abby at Camp Fantastic in 2015.
I’m often asked if I’m nervous about my upcoming shave.
I can honestly say I’m not at all. After all, this will be my third time shaving my head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation!
The usual response I get is, “You’re so brave.” But I don’t see myself as the brave one.
Today Abby turns 9, and for the second year in a row, she’s celebrating her birthday in the hospital. Her mom, Patty, reflects on the past year and all the challenges their family has weathered together, from relapse to transplant to today.
Abby last November, two months after her relapse.
Looking back at where we have been, the many states of mind and motions we have experienced … it’s enough to make my head spin.
At this time last year, one of our Honored Kids had a new lease on life. (You may remember her from this adorable video.)
At age 4, Abby was diagnosed with an aggressive childhood cancer called Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Thanks to research funded by St. Baldrick’s, she went into remission.
But this fall, Abby’s cancer returned. She’s having a bone marrow transplant today.
Here’s an update on Abby.
This summer, Abby completed a kids triathlon.
What do we do now?
Abby was diagnosed with Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive form of childhood cancer, when she was 4.
After doing that daily — along with a whole host of different treatments — for the last 32 months, it’s scary to stop.
We are extremely thankful for what we have and that we still have Abby here with us. But to say that we are celebrating every day isn’t true. At times I find myself holding my breath and waiting.
Every time I hear her coughing or complaining of something, my mind goes all over the place. For the past almost-three years, it’s never been just a cold; it was usually pneumonia. It never was just a tummy ache; it was C. diff, rotavirus, typhlitis, you name it. And now, without the safety net of chemo, is it the dreaded “R-word” — relapse?
“Your child has cancer.”
When Abby was 4, she was diagnosed with Ph+ ALL, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
“Every child is different, every disease is different, but this is relatively good news,” explained the doctor. “ALL is one of the most common forms of leukemia, and great advances in treatment have been made.”
One week into chemotherapy treatment, Abby’s diagnosis got more complicated when we learned she had Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) ALL, an aggressive subtype of leukemia. Our oncologists let us know that the recommended care would involve a bone marrow transplant.
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