I was 17 and had just started my senior year of high school when my back started to feel sore. In just a few days, the pain got so bad that my Mom took me to the ER. After some testing was done at Sanford Children’s Castle of Care in Sioux Falls, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt Lymphoma and Leukemia. Burkitt’s is the most aggressive form of lymphoma known, so that’s why I felt worse so quickly. Although it’s very aggressive, it also goes away relatively quickly with chemotherapy. I had 5 rounds of chemo and a number of lumbar punctures over the next six months, so treatment started in September and ended by March. I was able to go to my Senior Prom and go on my Senior trip to Los Angeles. In April, my dream of becoming a State FFA Officer came true when I was chosen to be State President. And, I went on to graduate from high school in May. Because Burkitt’s is so aggressive, chemotherapy had to be given in high doses with very little recovery time between rounds. My immunity got so low during treatment that I got a life threatening rhyzopus fungal infection. The Sanford Children’s staff caught the infection in the early stage and got me through it. Now, three years later, I experience some challenging side effects of treatment like neuropathy in my feet and ankles, and “chemo brain” forgetfulness. I’m so grateful for the care I received, but I hope for better treatments and cures for kids with cancer. That’s why I support childhood cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
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.