Honored Kid

Sarah L.

Age 13
Sarah L. Kid Photo

Location

San Diego , CA, US

Diagnosis

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Date of Diagnosis

October 2017

Status

In remission

Treated At

Rady’s Children’s Hospital

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My Story

Sarah is 10 years old and the middle child of our three girls. She enjoys a close relationship with her older sister, 12 year-old Arianna, and her younger sister, 5 year-old Julieta... as well as her sweet puppy, Ace! Up until early last fall, Sarah was a regular girl, excited about entering the 4th grade at Deer Canyon Elementary. Her favorite activities include soccer, piano, art, Girl Scouts, science, and hanging out at the beach. However, in early September, Sarah began to experience a myriad of unexplained symptoms that had us concerned. Multiple blood tests, MRIs and EEGs revealed no abnormalities, but we remained vigilant as our gut instincts knew something was not right. On October 10, 2017, a CT scan revealed that Sarah, in fact, had Lymphoma. Specifically, Sarah was diagnosed with a very rare, high grade stage 4 Burkitt lymphoma of the intra-abdominal lymph nodes. The cancer had originated in her pelvis with two large masses and had quickly spread, through her blood, into her lymph nodes, her head, behind her eyes and jaw. The days and weeks following her diagnosis were a blur for all of us. Sarah's treatment plan was necessarily aggressive and included surgeries, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and lumbar punctures and aspirations of bone marrow. The side effects of her treatment were staggering as she endured hair loss, infections, significant weight loss, fevers, and severe fatigue. Amazingly, on January 26, 2018, we received the Best news that Sarah was in remission. She completed 3 months of aggressive maintenance chemotherapy treatments. Sarah is finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and she can return to her life as an active and energetic girl. However, we have a long road ahead of recovery due to long term effects of chemo. We are taking it day by day and pray God continues hold her in his hand. Sarah's spunky, daring, and strong-willed personality has continued to shine, despite all of the difficulties she has had to face. Her family, friends, and oncology treatment team at Rady Children's Hospital have been wowed by her spirit and strength. While in-patient at Rady Children's, Sarah noticed that many of the children at the hospital were isolated and unable to connect with other young patients, either because of infections, isolation, too weak to get up, shy, or child was left alone due to working parents. Sarah and Mom came up with two wonderful programs aimed at allowing kids to connect with others who are similarly situated. Our first idea "CHAT with Champs," the walkie talkies are placed on the counter at the nurses station. Kids can freely come up and grab one to begin to chat with others. The second idea, "Get to Know You Jenga," was conceived after Sarah noticed that children were often very reserved and hesitant to initiate a conversation even during organized social gatherings at the hospital. Sarah used a label-maker to add fun questions to each block in a Jenga game with the hopes that it would serve as an ice-breaker and prompt children to engage and feel more comfortable with their peers. Both programs have been great successes and have allowed Sarah and others to connect with fellow warrior kids facing tough challenges. We have turned Chat with Champs into a non-profit organization and are working to bring these programs to more pediatric hospitals, because no child should fight cancer alone. Sarah is so thankful to God for her Miracle and grateful for amazing love and support our our community family and friends. We are forever thankful for their support and love, as we could not have done this without them. We are honored to be around such giving individuals that have inspired us to give back a little love to others.  Love and Faith, The LOZA Family

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