I was just 7 months old when my mom and dad first heard the words, "your daughter has cancer." From that moment in the ER, life was never the same - for any of us. Once past the initial shock, my parents, with the help of family and friends. figured out the best place for my treatment. My mom and I left my dad and big sister and headed for NYC where I underwent 8 months of treatment for Stage IV Neuroblastoma at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The cancer had started in my left adrenal gland and spread to my liver, lungs, lymph nodes, and most of the bones in my body. I lost most of my sight in both eyes not long after diagnosis from all the tumors in my face and head compressing my optic nerves and am considered legally blind or "low vision". I do have some usable vision and am learning how to utilize it in my every day life. My condition became critical early in my treatment and I spent several months in the hospital including a month in the PICU recovering from the severe effects of chemotherapy. The short and long-term effects of chemo drugs is one of the main reasons my family wants to see new, less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer. We stayed in NYC for 13 months before returning home to my dad and sister and a new and very different life than when we left a year earlier. Once treatment ended, my long journey of rehab and recovery began and I have been fighting my way "back" ever since. I love my family - especially my big sister - playing with baby dolls, singing and dancing, and pizza and ice cream! With the help of some truly amazing teachers and therapists - my personal angels and heroes - I have learned to walk, speak, eat, and drink, and am learning to do the things other kids my age can do. I have learned to read and write in braille and love playing with my friends at school. In spite of my disease remaining throughout most of my body after 10 rounds of chemotherapy, I am growing and conquering obstacles every day. Someday in the future, I will need maxillofacial reconstruction to correct the malformations in my mouth from the tumors and also possibly facial bone reconstruction. Only time will tell whether these will be possible. I return to NYC once per year for scans so the doctors can be sure my cancer is stable. Although I live with cancer every day, there is so much more to me than Neuroblastoma - - with your help, I can live a life far beyond cancer... and grow up to help other families do the same!
Thank you for supporting me and the more than 300,000 kids worldwide who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. By sharing the gifts of your time, talent and money with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, you're supporting research to give all kids with cancer a better chance for a cure.