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.
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.
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.
The decision to enroll a child with cancer in a clinical trial isn’t one that’s made lightly. But it’s something that many cancer parents, when faced with limited treatment options for their child, wrestle with. Kate, mom to 4-year-old Micah, shares how she and her husband decided Micah would take part in this critical arm of childhood cancer research.
Micah is no longer on the clinical trial, but you can read all about it — and how St. Baldrick’s volunteers helped make it possible — here.
We had been busy, happy parents of a pre-schooler and an active, just-learning-to-walk toddler. And then our 15-month-old went to the hospital for overnight IV antibiotics to treat pneumonia and left with a neuroblastoma diagnosis.
Micah’s mom and dad know that when you’re the parents of a child who’s being treated for cancer, anything can happen. Yesterday was no different. Honored Kid Micah was at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on a St. Baldrick’s-funded clinical trial when doctors found that enzyme levels in his liver were out of whack. (Read the blog about Micah’s participation in the trial here.) According to protocol, Micah could not continue on the study. His dad, Jeff, explains.
Micah takes his pills at CHLA during the trial.
This is apparently a rare reaction, only occurring in a very small percentage of patients receiving this antibody, and it seems Micah happens to be in that small group. At this point, even the doctors and researchers don’t quite understand the mechanism that causes it, or why it only happened sometimes in Micah’s case.
Before I go further, I should note that Micah is acting and feeling fine. His liver isn’t enlarged or causing him any pain. He’s just as active and energetic as he is on any other day. If the past incidents are any guide, Micah’s liver enzymes will come back down into normal range within the next few days. We’ll be rechecking them on Friday, the same time when we’ll regroup with Micah’s CHLA team to discuss next steps.
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