In April of 2013, our family joined the club that no one wants to be in – the childhood cancer club. We were told that our 2-year-old daughter, Hazel, had Stage 3, high-risk neuroblastoma, which came with the added baggage of only about a 50% survival rate. To say we were utterly terrified and shell-shocked would be an understatement.
Honored Kid Hazel and her mom, Lauren, smile together during a day at the park.
But our daughter adapted to her new normal with ease and bravery. She guided us in our fight and inspired us in our determination to get through this arduous journey and give her the best chance, not only at survival, but at living a full life.
Ever wonder if your contributions make a real difference? That money you donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – did it really accomplish anything?
David squeezes his mom, Susan, tight during a fundraising event.
Let us tell you about our son, David.
When Honored Kid Hazel H. relapsed, there was no clear path forward. There was no tried-and-true roadmap to survival. There was no cure. But now, spunky, precocious little Hazel is cancer free for the second time. How? Three words that bring kids with cancer and their families hope – childhood cancer research.
Diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2013, Hazel relapsed after two and a half years cancer free. Now, in a turn of events rare for kids with relapsed neuroblastoma, she’s cancer free once again.
It was the summer of 2016 when Hazel and her family went on vacation to Yosemite National Park. For once, they were all together – Lauren and Aaron, plus the five kids: Micah, Elizabeth, Hazel, Jonah and Zoe. It felt normal. Like a regular family vacation.
For some families that might sound typical, like something every family does every summer. But to this family – which had spent the past few years in and out of hospitals, making life-or-death decisions – typical was wonderful. It was a strange, unfamiliar kind of bliss.
Honored Kid David was bright, charming and totally dedicated to embracing life. He also had childhood cancer. David asked his family to fight for a cure — a cure that didn’t come soon enough for him. Read on to learn more about this spectacular 10-year-old, his childhood cancer journey and why his mom, Susan, is passionate about research.
David hugs his mom, Susan, at a fundraising event.
Who would David be if he had grown up?
His mom can’t help but wonder. If he’d lived, he’d be a teenager now.
Would he still have that obsession with colorful skinny jeans? Would that cello he insisted upon getting still be gathering dust? Would he still be that bubbly, charismatic kid she remembers?
What if childhood cancer research hadn’t failed him?
That’s what Susan Heard wonders.
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.
Meet Zein, a goofy, laid back kid with a sunny attitude. Despite his ongoing battle with neuroblastoma, he’ll be VIP at the St. Baldrick’s Ever After Ball fundraiser this weekend. But honestly, he’s a VIP in our hearts all the time. Read on to learn why…
Zein goofs around at the hospital during treatment for neuroblastoma.
When Honored Kid Zein grows up, he wants to invent a food that heals cancer and allows kids to get better without getting sick from chemo or having to swallow pills.
This very cool idea is brought to you by a 10-year-old boy that his mom, Radwa, called “the most chill kid” you’ll ever meet. Zein is “silly, humble, super kind and loves to be there for everybody else,” she added.
Even before the cancer.
Isabella is a prizefighter in a tiny, 3-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 3-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.
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.
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.
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