Colleen was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer) in her right distal femur (leg) on September 19, 2007.
Colleen loved to swim. She swam on our community team (the Hawthorne Stingrays) and had also begun swimming on the New Wave Swim Team right before she was diagnosed. Her goal was to gain enough strength to be able to swim with the dolphins during her Make a Wish trip. Sadly, her trip had to be canceled because she took a downturn which she never recovered from.
She endured 9 months of chemotherapy and several months of combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy which resulted in painful third degree burns in many areas of her body. The cancer was metastasized upon diagnosis and quickly spread to every growth plate in her body which was an unusual portrayal of this type of cancer. We did everything we could by taking her to the best doctors in the country and providing her with the best treatment available today. Unfortunately, pediatric cancer research and treatment still has a long way to go and only gets a small fraction of the funding that other cancers receive.
Although she fought hard, Colleen lost her battle on June 9, 2008 after only nine months. For her, the monster was very mean, strong, and hurtful. However, we consider it a blessing that it did not stay in our lives to force her to endure the pain for any longer.
We are very proud of her and how she inspired us by her perseverance and strength. She was loving and had many friends and somehow, continued to share love and smiles with all of her friends and extended family until the very end.
As her parents, we are now dedicated to changing the lives of children with cancer by continuing to volunteer in areas that help children impacted by this horrific disease. Read more about our work at: