Caroline was a bright light to all who knew her. She was a fun-loving, sweet and sassy girl who always had a smile on her face and could always put a smile on others. She loved her friends, all things country music (especially Luke Bryan), painting and calligraphy, the beach, playing indoor and beach volleyball, basketball and her sweet puppy Buddy. She was intelligent, creative, kind, funny, and feisty. Above all, she was selfless, even in the middle of the fight for her life, she became an ambassador for childhood cancer - raising awareness and research funding so that no child would ever have to endure the same battle.
In January of 2017, Caroline was diagnosed with Stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive sarcoma that targets soft muscle and connective tissues. Caroline began experiencing pain in her hips and legs, she was an athlete and had just transitioned from volleyball season to basketball season, so we originally thought she may have a sports injury. After five weeks of orthopedic and physical therapy appointments, we had a gut feeling it was more than a injury. We made an appointment to see her pediatrician for blood work, and very quickly found ourselves at the hospital being told our sweet girl had cancer. Soon we learned that cancer had invaded her body. Her prognosis was terrifying, but we believed that if anyone was going to be a miracle, it was Caroline.
Throughout her two-year battle with cancer, Caroline endured over a year of IV chemotherapy, oral chemotherapies, 20 fractions of radiation to multiple sites in her body, cyberknife radiation to the brain, whole brain radiation therapy and six surgeries. She had over 50 blood transfusions, over 35 platelet transfusions and 3 plasma transfusions. Numerous tests, scans, two septic infections, pneumonia and many, many hospital visits. Caroline did briefly go into remission, however after a scan in January 2018, we were told the most devastating news of our lives, our daughter was terminally ill. Caroline fought hard, was brave and an inspiration to us all, each and everyday. She still is. Caroline so sadly passed away early Thanksgiving morning of 2018. This fund was established to honor Caroline and her passion for raising awareness and research funding for all types of childhood cancers.
Donations made to the Berry Strong Fund have generously supported a St. Baldrick’s Scholar Grant for Benjamin Stanton Ph.D. Dr. Stanton is researching treatments for alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma at The Research Institue of Nationwide which is affiliated with Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the greatest impact for kids with cancer.
These people make us smile - they're the doers and money-raisers on behalf of the Berry Strong Fund. They're shaving their heads, hosting events, starting fundraisers and more to make childhood cancer research possible.
Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.
Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.