At just 21 months old, Honored Kid Isabella was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. But this devastating news was just the beginning of a long journey of treatments and surgeries that stole precious time from Isabella and her family. Her dad, Peter, explains what it was like.
“Your child has cancer.”
These are the words we heard on June 12, 2015, and life hasn’t been the same since.
It started with a swollen eye that wouldn’t get better. Then, Princeton’s parents found a large, hard lump on the side of his head. In late December 2011, at 2 years old, Princeton was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.
37 events, thousands of participants, and over $235,000 raised for childhood cancer research — it’s safe to say the ultimate college head-shaving showdown had a successful second season. But who came out on top in this year’s Battle of the Bald? The results are in — read more to find out!
All images courtesy of Laurie Aiello
With her son Grant in her lap, her father getting shaved in the seat next to her, and her daughter helping guide the razor, Katrina Learned’s head-shave became more than a fundraiser — it was a moving family moment.
Katrina was the top fundraiser at the event, raising just over $14,000 for childhood cancer research and helping propel the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute event to the top of the charts for the second annual Battle of the Bald.
A few days ago, we brought you the childhood cancer story of Hazel, the sweet 5-year-old who loves tea parties, playing dress-up, and who’s fighting neuroblastoma for the second time. Shortly after her family learned her cancer was back, St. Baldrick’s staffer Alison Sutton went to the hospital with Hazel and her mom for her first day back in treatment. Alison tells the story below.
This month marks three years since Rex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, and the 4-year-old and his family are celebrating. Why? Because thanks to a St. Baldrick’s-funded immunotherapy treatment, Rex still shows no evidence of disease. Read on for more about rambunctious Rex and his incredible childhood cancer journey.
Rex was diagnosed with childhood cancer when he was just 18 months old. Now he’s a high-energy, fun-filled 4-year-old.
For 4-year-old Rex, everything is go big or go home.
“He runs everywhere. He doesn’t just take steps, he leaps. He doesn’t have an inside voice, just an outside voice. He throws everything, breakable or not,” his mom, Lesley, said.
Isabella is a prizefighter in a tiny, 2-year-old body, knocking out childhood cancer with a smile. Read on to learn more about this incredible puzzle-loving girl, her shining spirit, and her unique childhood cancer journey.
Isabella was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last year and is currently completing her treatment.
Isabella’s favorite song suits her so perfectly that it could be the theme to her own story.
It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
That’s right. The 2-year-old is obsessed with “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song to the ultimate American underdog story, Rocky. Her mom, Jennifer, often jokes that sometimes during treatment Isabella needs a little Rocky inspiration.
For Robyn, Mother’s Day has never been the same since she lost her son Keaton to neuroblastoma 18 years ago. Read on for a special message she has for the other moms who share her pain on Mother’s Day.
Robyn embraces Keaton in the backyard.
It was an early November morning after 22 hours of labor when I looked into the most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen.
At that moment, I knew my life had changed forever. We named him Keaton and he was going to make his mark in this world.
As Keaton took his first breath, I never in my wildest nightmares imagined I would witness his last.
Honored Kid Julian is not only Brayden’s big brother. He’s his hero. When Julian passed away from childhood cancer, 6-year-old Brayden was determined to shave for St. Baldrick’s in his brother’s memory and to keep their team, Julian’s Army, marching toward a cure. Read on for more about Julian’s journey, the boys’ special bond, and Brayden’s upcoming shave.
Brayden (left) and Julian smile with their arms around each other.
On Valentine’s Day, Brayden made his big brother Julian a valentine.
Tuesday and her twin sister, Piper, were born on time and healthy. The whole Whitt family was, as mom Jessica put it, happy and healthy, with rarely a cold. But in 2008, childhood cancer would change everything.
Tuesday Whitt was almost 2 years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
When identical twins Tuesday and Piper were a year and a half old, Jessica noticed something odd. The girls didn’t look so alike anymore. While Piper looked plump, pink and healthy, Tuesday didn’t. The usually precocious little girl just wasn’t herself.
What is neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a type of childhood cancer that develops in nerve tissue outside of the central nervous system. It usually begins in the adrenal gland on top of the kidney, but it can be found anywhere along the spine.
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