Clara Joy is a silly, sassy, spunky little girl looking forward to her eight birthday on March 18, 2022. She enjoys playing with her twin brother, Cameron, and 10-year-old brother, CJ. She loves Elsa from Frozen, dance parties, singing, reading, and spending time with her family. She has a sparkle in her eye, an awesome sense of humor, and first-hand experience as a brain cancer survivor.
In November 2015, at 21 months of age, Clara began throwing up once a day and started having trouble with her balance, sometimes to the point of falling down while walking. A trip to the pediatrician on December 8, 2015 turned into a visit to the ER and ended with admittance to the PICU. Clara's world turned upside down that day; a mass was found blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid out of Clara's brain. On December 11, Clara underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor from her fourth ventricle. She spent weeks in the PICU recovering from surgery, and returned home on December 23, only to be readmitted on Christmas Day for a fever. The fever turned out to be viral in nature; thankfully it was not a sign of infection or complication from her brain surgery.
Clara and her mom spent the first two months of 2016 living at Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia while Clara received treatment. Many of the children and families going through treatment at the same time as Clara also stayed at Ronald McDonald House. The love and support of those kids and their families helped our family get through treatment. There is a bond like no other between families going through the horrors of pediatric cancer.
Clara has had a number of scans since the completion of treatment in Feb. 2016. Each scan has thankfully either shown no evidence of disease or has been stable. Clara reached remission on February 26, 2021!
The decisions many parents have to make regarding their child's cancer treatment are devastatingly heartbreaking. Chemo and radiation treatments are common methods used to fight cancer, but the list of side effects and long-term risks associated with these treatments can make parents feel as if they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Some outdated treatment strategies are the only option parents have because of a lack of funding to research new treatments.
Only 4% of federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. About 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies. However, because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable, there’s almost no funding from pharmaceutical companies for drug development in pediatric cancers.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is making a difference through people like you by raising funds for desperately-needed research for pediatric cancer treatments. Thank you for the gifts of your time, talent, and money to help raise funds for research.