Between holidays spent in the hospital and too many missed days of school, 2016 Ambassador Cheyenne’s childhood doesn’t look the same as other kids her age. Read on to hear how her mom, Amy, is fighting to take Cheyenne’s childhood back from cancer.
Cheyenne and her little brother, Tristen, spending time together during Cheyenne’s treatment.
We’ve all seen them — the sappy commercials with cute bald kids, or the heartbreaking photos on our social media feeds depicting children in the midst of horrible cancer treatments.
But what are those kids going through after those photos are taken? What are the other tolls cancer takes?
Our 12-year-old daughter Cheyenne has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment every day for the past two years, and she still has five more months of treatment to go.
We asked Ambassador Cheyenne who her heroes are. Her answer? “My mom and dad.” So today, for National Parents’ Day, we asked her to tell us why — and she gave us 10 great reasons. (Number 10 is our favorite!)
Cheyenne with her mom and dad, Amy and Levi.
Birthdays are a time of celebration for most kids — a big party with presents, cake and balloons. But for Ambassador Cheyenne and her family, her upcoming birthday holds much more meaning. Read on to see what Cheyenne’s mom, Amy, is reflecting on this year.
I’ve always thought of birthdays as a momentous occasion to celebrate life. With Cheyenne’s 11th birthday coming up, a little more than one year after her childhood cancer diagnosis, this celebration of life is taking on an entirely new meaning.
On January 30, 2015, Cheyenne couldn’t breathe. Hours and one helicopter ride to the hospital later, her parents received the worst news. Her airway was being blocked by a tumor, specifically T-lymphoblastic lymphoma.
On January 30, one week before her 10th birthday, Cheyenne was having trouble breathing. After a trip to the local ER, she was air lifted to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.
Her doctors discovered a large, life-threatening tumor blocking her airway. Soon after, Cheyenne was diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.
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Danny was diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma at age 2.
Our journey through childhood cancer started when my son, Danny, was diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma on December 1, 2010. I remember falling to my knees in front of everyone in the room, feeling as if my soul had left me.
I could not speak. I could not even hold my son because there was a tube inserted into his chest through his ribcage, an IV in both hands, an IV in both feet, and oxygen being forced into his lungs. I leaned over him and with both my hands on his face, I whispered into his ear, “Daddy will never leave your side. I will love you and protect you every day. I promise you that I will fight for you and give you the best care possible.”
No cost is too high to give our children fighting cancer a cure.
Five-year-old Danny was diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma when he was 2.
The price my son has paid for his road to a cure has been high. He has lost 30-plus months of being a developing child. In those 30 months, we lived at the hospital longer than we were able to be home.
The pain and suffering my son has endured could not accurately be put to words. The mental effects on him have been great and the physical effects have been even greater, with possible long-term or permanent side effects from chemotherapy. I will never know what late effects from treatment he may have until they appear, and I pray that they never come late at night or early one morning and ravage my beautiful little boy.
On November 15, 2010, I took my son, Danny, to the pediatrician for what I thought was a chest cold. The pediatrician agreed and treated Danny accordingly. One week later, on November 22, I rushed my son to the hospital only to get news that was far worse than I ever expected. Danny would be diagnosed with childhood cancer.
Danny’s tumor was larger than his heart and originated in his thymus. The steroid regimen he was placed on for the chest cold made it difficult for the doctor to make a diagnosis. After nine days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Danny was diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. I was told that chemotherapy needed to start right away and that he would need a spinal tap with intrathecal chemotherapy to treat his central nervous system immediately. He would also need many more chemotherapeutic drugs over the next two and a half years.
I cry for my son. I cry because he is fighting cancer, for not knowing what will happen, for giving him chemotherapy that I know will make him hurt, because it will save his life.