Cure Childhood Cancer

CURE Blog


September 11th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Kirsten Olander

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 8, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Kirsten Olander. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Kirsten’s fundraising page. 

Kirsten Olander PhotoKirsten Olander, was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma in July 2012. She was 12-years old. Prior to this, Kirsten was a vibrant, athletic girl who enjoyed playing softball and hanging out with her siblings and friends. She was sweet and funny with a quirky side. She loved animals and wanted to become an orthodontist when she grew up.

Kirsten was a very easygoing girl who hardly ever complained about anything. In June of 2012 she had gone to one of her favorite places, summer camp, which she had been attending every year since she was seven. While at camp, she ran a low fever, broke out in a rash and went to the camp nurse. It wasn’t irritating her enough to keep her from horseback riding and hiking for miles caring a pack. After arriving back home, she started getting night sweats. But this didn’t stop her from going on runs with her sister in the Florida summer heat. Then she felt a lump near her collarbone. She was even reluctant to tell mom and dad because it was right before a summer trip to the beach. After she told her older sister, Magen, she was forced to reveal that the lump was there. This prompted a trip to her pediatrician. After a chest x-ray we were advised that there was a large mass in her chest. She was referred to Sacred Heart hospital in Pensacola, FL.

Her chemotherapy began right away and she completed the treatment regimen of two rounds of chemotherapy. She was always the favorite patient of the nursing staff. She was always cooperative and never complained. She had to be told over and over that it was okay to ask for medication when she was in pain. She then went on to have proton therapy radiation in December 2012. At that point, it looked as if the cancer had stopped growing and she looked forward to getting back to normal. Her hair had started growing back; she put some weight back on and even started practicing softball with her team again.

As part of the aftercare, she was to have regular scans to make sure everything was okay. She had a scan in February 2013 that showed the cancer had started to grow again. This was rough for her because she was feeling good and she was enjoying life again.

She underwent two more chemo treatments but they had little to no affect on the cancer. The cancer was growing on her lungs and her breathing was difficult. She was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. The doctors tried an experimental treatment as a last-ditch effort to stop the cancer. Again, there were no positive results. She still wasn’t getting enough oxygen so she was placed on a more powerful ventilator (an oscillator). This oscillator required her to be heavily sedated and paralyzed so it did all the work of breathing for her. Her lungs were not improving and in fact, they were becoming more damaged by the prolonged period on the oscillator. After a week of no improvement and more decline, the doctors broke the new to us that there was no chance of recovery. We had to make the very difficult decision to take her off life support so she wouldn’t have to suffer any longer. As hard as it was to let her go, it would have been harder to see her in the state she was in. She passed away on June 12th 2013. She made it to her 13th birthday on May 12th. But that was her last.

Despite her tough battle with disease, she always maintained a positive spirit. This picture was taken less than two weeks prior to her death. She kept her special sense of humor throughout her ordeal. She taught us all grace under extreme hardship.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503It is our wish to create a Named Research Fund with CURE. This will require a good deal of fundraising. Please leave a donation to help us honor her courageous fight. Her spirit lives on in our hearts but with this legacy her spirit will continue to inspire others to work towards a cure. Please help us today!


September 11th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Gideon Aland

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 11, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Gideon Aland. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Gideon’s fundraising page. 

Gideon Aland Photo 3

Gid-e-on  / powerful warrior, mighty warrior, hero

This is my Gideon – or Gidster as we call him. He just turned seven-years-old. Gidster is awesome, fun and wicked smart. He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on December 13, 2013. Our lives completely changed in the span of six hours. He had been looking sick to me but there were really no other indications that anything serious was going on. At his well check visit two months prior, everything had checked out fine. The week I decided to make an appointment, he had been tired and not playing with his usual amount of energy. The day we went to see the pediatrician we were going to get a Christmas tree and put it on the car, because in my head we were going right home after. I am glad I didn’t because we were sent right down to the Children’s hospital. We were diagnosed within just a couple hours. There were two really long walks that day. The first – when the Dr. asked us to walk with her down to the consultation room where we received the news. The second – walking back to the floor for children with cancer, past the pictures of the bald headed children with cancer. That was our world now, everything had changed. We were in the hospital for the next 18 days. We spent our Christmas there. Finally on New Year’s Eve we got to take him home.

Gideon is a Ferris Buller kind of a guy. Everyone loves Gidster, young and old. So we adopted the motto Save Ferris! The first couple months of chemotherapy were rough, so I tried to find the fun things for him; like making wristbands with “Save Ferris” on them, or shirts for our family that said “Team Gidster.” We also had heard that some of the kids call the ports that they receive their chemo through their “Iron Man.” Well, we ran with that. Now everything is Iron Man in honor of our Iron Man Gidster (we call his port Tony Stark).

The first time Gideon’s hair started coming out we had some fun with it, gradually getting used to the idea of it. First a shorter cut, then a Mohawk, and then in an act of solidarity his 15-year-old brother and dad shaved their heads. Not only did dad and brother shave their heads for Gidster but seven of his uncles, many of his cousins, and even his Grandpa. Then the second time his hair came out I, his mom, let him shave a little patch of my hair in his honor. Now I have one of those sweet beautiful kids I saw in the pictures on the second of our long walks on our day of diagnoses.

The first few weeks of treatment were rough. It was obviously heartbreaking for mom and dad but his older sibling were heartbroken too and his younger sister, was suddenly without her best friend. Sometimes I would cry and grieve for the loss of the future I had dreamed about for him. Where had my Gideon gone? I was glad when he started to display signs of his fun and jokster like personality: pretending to trip in the hallway and messing with the nurses and calling them to say, “um my infusion is complete.” Whenever we were able to, we would leave the room and go play around the hospital making friends and playing the Wii in the Zone.

Throughout treatment we’ve tried to give him a lot of normal life: school as much as we can, the beach in between treatments, and baseball when we could. Gideon loves playing baseball. He said to me, “When I play, I just sink into it and forget about Leukemia.” People comment that he always has a smile on his face. I hope that these normal life experiences help him do that.

We are truly lucky. They say if you have to have cancer, Leukemia is the best kind to get. Gideon has really been surprisingly energetic and we have only had a handful of hospital admissions for illness. He is a trooper. He becomes sick from side effects one moment and the next he is running outside to play or get on the bus to go to school. I know he isn’t well when he is not teasing me; I’ll take a little teasing any day. We are hopefully in our last really intense phase before we start our two and a half years of maintenance. Gideon is responding well and we look to the future with hope and also with faith, that there will be a cure.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Gideon is a pretty chill kind of patient now. He rolls with the punches so well. The thing that impresses me about him is his concern for others. Even when he is dealing with so much, he will look outside of himself to make sure others are happy. He only just turned seven and I admire his strength, courage, his playful spirit, his hope, and faith. In my opinion he embodies the definitions of his name.

He is truly a Mighty Warrior.


September 11th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Nathan Chumley

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 11, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Nathan Chumley. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Nathan’s fundraising page. 

Nathan Chumley PhotoIt was like any other beach vacation we had taken, only this time Nathan wasn’t feeling well and began running a fever. After returning home and making several trips to the doctor’s office, we were told that Nathan had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We were in shock.

I had already lost both my brothers to this disease; how could this now be happening to my son? Nathan was a very energetic five-year-old boy. He loved sports and, most of all, baseball. Nathan began treatments right away and during his time in the hospital, figured out how to keep playing baseball. Nathan would find an empty 20oz bottle and anything that might resemble a ball. We would play in his hospital room and, of course, Nathan would hit a home-run every time.

Nathan began to have an interest in football as well. Every weekend he was in the hospital, Nathan and his dad would watch college football on Saturdays and NFL on Sundays.

Nathan started kindergarten in the middle of treatments. The teachers and staff at his school were amazing and so were his new friends. Many of his friends were very protective of him and would worry if he missed school. The moment that sticks out most is when Nathan did not have his hat to wear to school. I asked if he wanted it and he said, “No mommy, they don’t care if I’m bald.” My heart just melted.

After completing several chemo treatments over a two and a half month period, Nathan began to prepare for a bone marrow transplant. It was a blessing that Nathan’s big brother Luke was able to be his donor. Luke is very proud of being Nathan’s donor and every chance he gets he will tell everyone that he saved his brother’s life. They have a bond like no other.

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Now, two years later, Nathan is thriving on life. He is going to school with his friends and playing baseball. Nathan says it’s a toss-up if he will play college football or baseball. We’ll see.


September 10th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Reece McPhail

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 10, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Reece McPhail. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Reece’s fundraising page. 

Reece McPhail PhotoWhen you hear of childhood cancer, you usually think of those poor kids you see on a few commercials. They have little bald-heads and look to be too young to have to deal with chemo and radiation.

And then, one day, out of the blue, your seemingly healthy child has to make a trip to the doctor and then to the emergency room. Then those words, those terrible words. You know, the ones no parent ever wants to hear. It’s hard to describe how it hits you, somewhat surreal as it sinks in.

“We think your son has cancer.”

In the blink of an eye, you are now a cancer-kid parent.

What follows changes your whole world. You start to become familiar with drugs, what they do and their side effects. You find yourself thrusted into handling, and sometimes injecting, drugs with names you can barely pronounce. My wife called it, our new normal.

For Reece, the diagnosis is Leukemia, a blood cancer. His treatments would entail weekly clinic visits for spinal taps, chemo, blood tests and more. You can’t imagine how brave an eight-year-old becomes when faced with shots in each leg at the same time as chemo. Both of these are drugs that burn as they go in. Then come the hospital stays; some planned and some due to fevers and low counts.

Fears can grip you as you watch your child dealing with drugs you’re not allowed to touch; yet they are going directly into his blood stream. After many different phases of treatment, you finally make it to maintenance where it finally gets a little easier. Yet with every phase, brings new things to learn, new things to be cautious of, and new hope.

Hope comes in many forms. For us, it came from prayers, support, and the doctors and nurses at the Aflac cancer center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite.

20 years ago the outlook for Leukemia was not good. It was pretty close to a 50/50 chance of surviving. It’s amazing how far research has come in the last 20 years. There is now about an 85% cure rate for children with Leukemia. That advancement has come from all the research and trials which all require funding. Thanks to organizations like CURE, we have a good outlook for our son. I would love to see an even higher cure rate and shorter treatments that cause fewer side effects. But without your support and donations, those advances can take many, many years. For some kids, they don’t have years to wait.

Your donation, big or small, adds up to make a huge difference. I know we were happy to hear that Reece’s treatments would put us in the 85% cure rate.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Reece is our hero, having endured more than a child should have to. He is near the end of his treatment and amazes us with his strength and determination. We are thankful to CURE and people like you that have made donations to CURE Childhood Cancer.


September 10th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Millie Baldwin

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 10, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Millie Baldwin. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Millie’s fundraising page.

Millie Baldwin PhotoOn Thursday, August 4, 2011, Millie began vomiting in the middle of the night and complaining of a stomachache. I felt her stomach Friday morning, and noticed a knot. We immediately took Millie to the Emergency Room at Scottish Rite. Her blood pressure was extremely high 159/119. At first they thought their machine was not working properly and had to take her blood pressure manually. This confirmed that indeed her blood pressure was very serious.

They x-rayed and performed an ultra sound of her stomach. Soon afterwards, the Emergency Room doctor came in and delivered news that would forever change our lives. Millie had a very large tumor, the size of a grapefruit, in her left kidney. It was cancerous. He believed, at the time, it was a Wilms tumor. However, when the pathology reports came back, this diagnosis changed. Millie had surgery five days later to remove her left kidney and the tumor, which was over 2 pounds. The cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes, thankfully, but there was some spillage in her abdomen.

On August 17, 2011, Millie was diagnosed with having a rare form of kidney cancer called Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney, stage III. This type of cancer affects only 20 people in the United States per year. She has undergone radiation and seven months of chemotherapy. She is currently off treatment and all scans have come back clear at this point.

We have been so very grateful for our family and friends, the AFLAC Cancer Center, the doctors, nurses and staff at CHOA that have been absolutely incredible in supporting us along this journey. The care that has been given to Millie and our family goes beyond words!

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503We are excited to join with CURE again this year to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to help raise funds for research which will lead to better treatments and cures for childhood cancer!


September 9th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Chayton Williamson

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 9, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Chayton Williamson. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time, and donate to Chayton’s fundraising page. 

Chayton Williamson PhotoSeptember is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and we want to share with you Chayton’s story.

Our son, Chayton Williamson, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor- Medulloblastoma- on February 9, 2006 at the age of three. Chayton endured seven months of chemotherapy at the AFLAC Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Scottish Rite Campus). At that point, he was in full remission and enjoyed playing soccer and attending pre-school. In October of 2007, during a routine MRI, a new tumor was discovered, and again we were faced with a diagnosis of Medulloblastoma. Under the guidance of our trusted neuro-oncologist, Dr. Claire Mazewski, we explored new treatment options for Chayton’s case.

After determining what our insurance would cover, we decided to pursue a stem cell transplant at Duke University Medical Center and then a proton radiation in Jacksonville Florida. This was the recommendation of Dr. Mazewski. The transplant was very hard on Chayton, but he handled it with true grace and strength. After only a two-week stay at home, we were off to Jacksonville for proton radiation. In August of 2008, Chayton finally completed his treatment there and returned home.

Since that time, Chayton has progressed physically and mentally. He now is 11 years old and in the 6th grade. He loves playing video games, playing on the computer, golfing and fishing. Chayton’s latest MRI showed no evidence of disease. Chayton is now in SURVIVORS CLINIC at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and we are grateful for the work CURE does because we KNOW it makes a difference!

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Thank you for your help in finding a cure.

 

Michael, Trisha and CHAYTON!


September 9th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Trenton Kindred

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 9, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Trenton Kindred. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Trenton’s fundraising page. 

Trenton Kindred PhotoAs many of you already know, our son, Trenton Kindred has endured more medical treatments and hospital stays than most people ever will in a lifetime. At the ripe old age of two, he was considered a Stage IV neuroblastoma survivor. What an accomplishment for a child that endured two bone marrow transplants, 21 days of radiation treatments, two surgeries, 27 port line infections and six months of oral chemo all before reaching the 25th month of life. What that description doesn’t describe is the agony and utter brokenness of our family during this nightmare. We all suffered.

Despite the horror he faced, Trenton is now 10 and as you can see from his picture, a football player; a far cry from the emaciated and fragile child that we brought home from the hospital after a long battle. He continues to amaze us with his infectious smile and love for life at such a young age. He is fearless, but at the same time has a soft soul that we think comes from staring into the darkest of places. He is truly a miracle and our family lives each day not wanting to take anything for granted.

Although, Trenton is now considered a “survivor”, we as parents know and live with the fact that his cancer has a 70% chance of recurrence. And on top of that, we also know that he could suffer a heart attack instead of making plans for graduation down the road. Although we are grateful that he is with us today, we know that the drugs that saved him when he was a child will have long lasting affects as he becomes an adult…if he becomes an adult. The sad fact is the survival rate statistics that are widely shared are misleading. If a child survives for five years and then passes away due to the chemical onslaught of drugs they were given to “cure” them, that child is still considered a survivor. And even if the child survives, but has permanent hearing loss, brain damage, loss of eyesight or disfiguration that is considered a win. We can do better! WE MUST DO BETTER!

Trenton and the entire Kindred family have hosted and promoted many fundraisers through CURE Childhood Cancer over the years such as the month of SEPTEMBER honoring all the kids who have battled this disease and remembering those who sadly lost their battle to cancer. We do this through CURE CHILDHOOD CANCER because all of our funds raised go to CURE’s commitment to finding better treatments, cures for the kid’s battling today and for all of the kid’s that will soon be diagnosed.

Trenton’s experience in our own lives has shown us the huge need for less toxic cancer treatments – specifically tailored to kids and their growing bodies. Our family hopes that in the future, no other family will ever hear the heart sinking words “your child has cancer”. But if that does happen, there will be hope; a hope of less toxic treatments tailored to kids that will allow them to be kids that grow into healthy adults.

That is our goal….That is our mission.

Today, September 9th, La Petite Maison Bistro in Sandy Springs, GA is honoring Trenton. They will be donating 20% of todays revenue to Trenton’s Fund and decorating the store in gold for childhood cancer awareness. Come have a yummy meal for a great cause.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Blessing to you and your healthy families – we thank you for every dime of consideration to donate to our cause!  God Bless You!

Believing in Miracles in our lifetime,

Ginger, Greg, Taylor & Trenton
The Kindred Family


September 8th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors David LeDonne

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 8, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid David LeDonne. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to David’s fundraising page.

David LeDonne PhotoDecember 28, 2012, will be etched in our family’s minds for the rest of our lives. We look forward to April 29, 2016, when we are told we are cancer free and done with our chemo and visits!

It all started on Halloween when David was too sick to go out trick or treating with his friends. David was sick off and on from then throughout December. At one time he got a 104 fever and it took us a while to bring it down. David would have soccer practices, come home achy, and have a fever. A few hours later, it would be gone. Sport-induced fever?? No one had heard of it.

David ended up getting the flu. Would it ever end? During Christmas he was feeling better, but I thought I would take him to the pediatrician just to make sure he didn’t have mono or something else. Prior to then, we had just been going to urgent cares. The pediatrician said she would put him on a Ztab and see if that would make him feel better. If his sickness came back, they would do blood work to see if it was mono. However, since the doctor and I both thought there was a possibility David had mono, we decided to test him for it. In two minutes, she was back. David’s blood counts were off. She wanted to send David for labs. She started talking about what others might say; it could be Leukemia and other stuff. I think she was preparing me because she knew. She’s married to an oncologist. But I thought it was no biggie. I wasn’t worried.

We went about our day but the doctor kept calling saying she hadn’t gotten the labs. I wasn’t calling her saying, “What have you heard?” She was calling me! By the end of the day, she and her husband were mad. I was telling them that it is ok and that we’ll wait for tomorrow. Well, the next day she put us at the top of her list and on December 28th, she called with the worst words you will ever hear, “David has Leukemia.” We packed a bag for at least 10 days to stay at Scottish Rite. Our journey began.

The first day was the worst with telling everyone, all the tears, and not knowing what to expect. By the next day David was calm and would laugh at me if I cried. He has never asked “why me?” and has so much faith in our God that he has God’s peace and strength. Even in losing his hair, it’s his “new” life. He goes right along like it’s nothing. Now, the kid that used to hate finger pricks just throws his arm out there to let the nurses do their thing! The thing that he misses most is being able to play soccer in High School and possibly in college. It’s something he’s wanted his whole life.

Speaking from a cancer point of view, David has really had it easy and we feel bad for all the meals, gifts, and functions that are given to us. There are so many so worse off. We are very used to being at the helping end, that it has humbled us all. We can never say thank you enough! Now, don’t get me wrong, David has one and a half more years to go through spinal taps, chemo, and office visits but we will continue his fight. And you never know what’s in store. We were in the mountains when David had a mini stroke caused by a chemo that he was on. You do what you have to do and move to the next phase and pray that it doesn’t get worse. The staff at Aflac has been amazing and it’s like going to visit friends when we go. It’s horrible when the hospital staff has become a part of your list of friends and you know what is going on in their lives!

BUT, the worst part of this whole journey is watching the other kids’ lives being taken away from their families and friends who love them so dearly. It is heart breaking and something that no family should have to go through. In the short time of one year and eight months, we have lost five children that have touched our lives. As the months go on, that is what is draining and you want to do all you can do to help. These kids were so strong, brave, and lit up your life. They weren’t wallowing in pity, but living their lives the best they could. One child had to endure nine years of all of this only to have his life taken at the age of 11. We can’t let this happen! We have to find a cure. This is not a “It’ll never happen to us” situation. It did happen to us. 400 kids in Georgia are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503It is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month so please give to CURE. Let’s give these kids back their lives of dancing, cheering, playing sports and having fun, which all kids should be able to do. Please give in honor of David and all of our friends that we have lost.


September 8th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Emaleigh Devaney

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Join us today, September 8, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Emaleigh Devaney. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Emaleigh’s fundraising page. 

Emaleigh Devaney's PhotoOn July 4, 2003, my eight-year-old daughter, Emaleigh Grace Devaney, was diagnosed with a childhood cancer known as Wilm’s Tumor. It changed my family forever. Many documented that Wilm’s Tumor cases have a high cure success rate, but Emaleigh wasn’t so lucky. Her particular type of tumor was very aggressive.

After immediate surgery, rounds of chemotherapy and radiation her situation was beginning to look promising. Then, on December 18, 2003, just a week before Christmas, everything changed. A scan showed the cancer had returned with a vengeance. One month later on January 21, 2004, just seven months after the initial diagnosis and her ensuing courageous battle, Emaleigh was taken from us by this horrible disease.

Emaleigh, like all children battling cancer, was a brave soul; they have to be. But underneath their bravery, they’re begging for a CURE. No matter what the amount, please find it in your heart to donate to this worthy cause today and invite your friends to do the same. You’re sure to be blessed many times over in return for your kindness.

In addition to your donation, all proceeds during the month of September from sales of my short inspirational story, Tragedy’s Gift, by Michael Devaney will also be donated to CURE.

It’s only $0.99 and can be purchased online by clicking the preferred outlet below:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503iTunes

 

Thank you and God bless you,

 

Michael Devaney


September 7th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Amir July

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 7, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Amir July. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Amir’s fundraising page. 

Amir July PhotoIn another lifetime, you are on the outside looking in. You see the commercials of the children with bald heads and then you shut the television off and go about your day. It never crosses your mind that it could be you. Until you hear the physician say, “He has cancer.” Immediately your life is changed – you are now on the inside looking out, repeatedly asking yourself, “How did we get here?”

For Amir it took: a swollen elbow that was read by X-ray as a fractured arm, a cast, a lump over his eye, and countless testing over the course of two hospital visits for him to be diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. At the age of two, Amir should be jumping around the house eating his favorite food, not undergoing anesthesia for a Central Line (CVL) placement. Cancer and its treatments wait for no one. Before you are allowed to catch your breath and utter the word “cancer,” you are thrust into life-saving treatment protocols.

Amir’s life-saving protocol included five months of chemotherapy that shrunk the cancer enough for the surgeons to go in and remove his adrenal gland. Post surgically, the physicians found that Amir still had disease, therefore, he required MIBG therapy. At this point in treatment Amir was injected with radioactive iodine that delivers radiation to Neuroblastoma cells. Although this treatment is well tolerated by children, recipients are isolated from family because they are radioactive. At two, Amir should be jumping around the house eating his favorite food, not sedated for several days waiting for radioactive iodine to leave his system.

Shortly after MIBG therapy, it was determined that there was still one cancerous spot that needed treatment. Amir underwent Stem Cell Transplant, where he was admitted to the hospital for one month. At first this energetic, vibrant child was diminished to that of a young three-year-old whose spirit was broken. Thankfully, this did not last long and Amir returned to his playful, music-loving, sports-enthused self. Once Amir recovered from Stem Cell Transplant, he received 20 days of radiation. His most recent scan this past June showed residual disease in his eye and in his bone marrow; which is being treated with antibody therapy.

In the last 15 months, Amir has undergone medicines and treatments that could easily rob children of their childhood. However, despite the road Amir’s journey has taken him on, he has maintained a positive, full-of-life affect. Amir is often seen singing and dancing. During some of his darkest days he lifted the spirits of those around him by singing and dancing to Will.I.Am’s song “Power.” It became somewhat of an anthem for Amir as the words, “I’m alive. I’m alive. I’m alive. And I’m loving every second, minute, hour, bigger, better, stronger, power,” were sung.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Please join CURE and their fight for childhood cancer awareness and research. Every child should feel alive and love every second, minute, and hour of a cancer free life.


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    JOIN US! CURE'S KIDS CONQUER CANCER

    Would you like to share your child's story as part of our fundraising event, CURE's Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time? Click here to learn more or email Lisa Branch at lisa@curechildhoodcancer.org.

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    10th ANNUAL "A TRIBUTE TO OUR QUIET HEROES"

    Tickets are on sale now for the 10th Annual luncheon celebrating the mothers of children diagnosed with cancer. Join us Saturday, September 27th at the InterContinental Buckhead. Click here to purchase tickets or learn more.