Cure Childhood Cancer

CURE Blog


September 27th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Emma Trapani

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 27, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Emma Trapani. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Emma’s fundraising page. 

Emma Trapani PhotoEmma was barely two and a half years old in June 2009. Our sitter told us she noticed an odd light reflection in Emma’s right eye. The next day I called my own optometrist and they fit us in that afternoon. Within the next few days we were referred to a Pediatric Ophthalmologist and a Pediatric Retina Specialist at Emory University. Emma endured endless eye exams and tests over the next six days and ultimately on June 19, 2009 her diagnosis was confirmed after an MRI. Our little girl had Retinoblastoma, a very rare malignant eye cancer, growing behind her right eye.

I was seven months pregnant then with our second child. We had a new baby on the way and our precious baby we already had was about to fight a very grown up disease. We were devastated. On June 29th we checked her into Egelston’s Children’s Hospital for surgery to have her enucleation. She recovered quickly from the surgery and was back to her normal two and a half year old antics in just a few days! When the test results came back, we found that Emma’s form of Retinoblastoma was not genetic and that the chances of our unborn baby inheriting the disease were unlikely. However, we found out that Emma had some “high risk features” involving her cancer and would need chemotherapy. Emma had one more surgery for a port placement in her chest where she would have her chemo administered. She started chemo at the end of July 2009 at the AFLAC Center at Egelston’s and she received her last chemo treatment in January 2010.

Just two days after Emma’s second chemo treatment, Bella was born. That day, tiny Bella gave her big sister the greatest gift she could– Hope. We were able to bank Bella’s cord blood for Emma’s future. Bella was just two weeks old by the time Emma went back to AFLAC for her third round of chemo. In those six months we were trying to find some kind of freakishly odd balance between caring for a newborn, traveling with Emma to the hospital for two days of outpatient chemo every six weeks, and helping Emma to navigate the new challenges of wearing glasses as a pretty active three year old as well as taking her to get fittings done for her new prosthesis she would have to wear. Each day we would say another prayer and we would look at her and still see our Emma, bright and cheerful and full of life. That alone got us through the worst days when we just could not seem to comprehend what was happening.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Emma continues to grow, shine, and face life head on with so much fierceness– we couldn’t be more proud of her. This upcoming February she will celebrate her fifth year of being a cancer survivor.


September 27th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Tommy Peterson

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 27, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Tommy Peterson. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Tommy’s fundraising page. 

Tommy Peterson Photo“Is the bump going away?”  Tommy asked.

How do you tell a beautiful, sweet, funny, loving six-year-old boy that the brain tumor he has been fighting is growing bigger each day?

Our journey with childhood cancer had started 10 months earlier. We were told it was just the flu, ear infections, and allergies that would not go away. But it became something scarier when our son could not walk to the bus. We went to the pediatrician again and they sent us to the ER of Children’s, Egleston campus.

Within minutes, Tommy was intubated and sent to CT. “It is something in his head?” “Is Tommy your only child?” These are questionss that I will never forget. The “bump” was a tumor called medulloblastoma. We just called it Bob.

After weeks in Pediatric ICU, a craniotomy, a brain biopsy, a tracheostomy, seizures, and radiation with a chemo boost, Tommy finally woke up and asked, “Why did Daddy make us move here?” The radiation had shrunk the tumor and decreased the pressure in his brain enough to bring him back to us.

Radiation kicked Bob’s butt. We thank God that radiation gave us another 10 months with our precious son.

We went through: four rounds of chemo, biweekly clinic visits, multiple hospital stays for infections, MRIs every 6 weeks, kidney damage, home IV therapy, nausea and Tommy getting weaker and weaker.

And then the news that we were dreading – the tumor was growing and the worse words a parent can hear, “Tommy will not survive this tumor.”

We just tried to savor every minute. Tommy rode the FOX 5 helicopter, went for a horseback ride, rode in a fire truck with the sirens going and went to Disney World. We even went back to school because Tommy wanted to be “a regular kid.” With every trip, Tommy just wanted to be at home. He was always cheerful and had a joke for everyone. He loved everyone, even his grouchy teenage brothers and sisters. He loved Spongebob, video games, and playing with his friends.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503No mother should ever have to tell her son that the bump is not going away and that heaven is a great place. No mom should have to tell her son that it is ok to go…

I wonder if we put him though the chemicals, radiation and surgeries for nothing. I would do it all again to have one more day, hour, minute with my sweet boy. I love and miss you Tommy Charles Peterson Good Boy!


September 26th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Caps for CURE

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 26, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Caps for CURE. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Caps for CURE’s fundraising page. 

Caps for CURE Photo

This marks the 5th year that many schools in Henry County are participating in the Caps for CURE effort to raise much-needed funding for childhood cancer research! When schools host a Caps for CURE day, students bring one dollar for the cause and are allowed to wear a cap to school. Sarah Barr and her family got the idea to start this effort after a local school held a “cap day” to raise money for Sarah while she was on treatment in 2009.

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With little childhood cancer funding from the government and large cancer organizations, the task of raising enough funds for research is a huge challenge. When schools choose to participate in this effort, they give their kids a chance to help other kids! Imagine how much can be raised in a day from just $1 per student! “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller) We are grateful to all participating schools for joining in the war against childhood cancer!


September 26th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Catie Wilkins

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 26, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Catie Wilkins. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Catie’s fundraising page.

Catie Wilkins Photo“Momma, did Catie like blueberries?”

“Yes baby, she did. Maybe even as much as you.”

“What was her favorite cereal? Did she like Rice Krispies like me?”

“I think Fruit Loops were her favorite, but she wasn’t a big cereal girl. Grits were more her style.”

“Momma, can we go see Catie soon?”

Sigh…  When my second born asked that, a long discussion about the “geographical” placement of Heaven began.

Chip, our youngest, has been less inquisitive about Catie. But recently, he has brought her up with his own questions. “Momma, was this shirt Catie’s?” “Yes, it was. Your Aunt Lisa and Uncle Dennis brought it back to her from Las Vegas.” He then went on to begin his own discussions about visiting his first sister.

Both Izzy and Chip have begun to work out Catie, Heaven and absence from this earth in their own ways. In Izzy’s drawings of our family, Catie has moved from being with us on the ground into the sky with wings. I’m amazed to watch her journey of understanding.

I always knew that Izzy and Chip would miss Catie in their own way and in their own time. Still, Izzy caught me off-guard the day she began (completely out of the blue) to cry in the back seat. “Izzy, baby, what’s wrong?” And her little voice from the back said, “Momma, I miss Catie.” Another big sigh from me. “Me too, baby. Me too.”

This is why we still support CURE Childhood Cancer seven and a half long years after our sweet Catie left us. No little boy or girl should ever have to wonder about the sibling they never got to meet or have to miss the sibling they loved so very, very much. My kids shouldn’t have to know that children can die from a terrible disease. We should be a family of five instead of five minus one. And conversations about Heaven should only be about what a wonderful place it is that we will go to one day instead of, “Mom, how do we get there so I can meet her now?”

Izzy has dreamed about Catie before. She told me the angels kissed her at night… that Catie kissed her. I like to think that it can work like that. Since they can’t know her in person yet, she gets to visit them in their dreams. And Izzy tells me that she thinks the sky in Heaven is nothing but rainbows. Part of me wonders if CatieBug has given her a bit of a sneak peek.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Please join us as we support CURE in Catie’s memory and in honor of Izzy and Chip. No child should suffer as Catie did and no kids should have to grow up wondering what their big sister was like.


September 25th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Anna Lee Weber

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 25, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Anna Lee Weber. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Anna Lee’s fundraising page. 

Anna Lee Weber Photo

As you watch your child laugh and play you don’t realize that life as you know it can disappear in seconds.

Our family found this out first hand when we were faced with the devastating news that our daughter had cancer. We had noticed that our three year old was having headaches and asking for Tylenol and Motrin by name. We had concerns and were sent to see an ophthalmologist. She quickly made us aware that our little girl had an optic pathway glioma (brain tumor). October 12th would never be the same again and neither would our life.

The following day the results were confirmed by MRI and then the whirlwind continued. Anna Lee would get her port placed and her first round of chemotherapy at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The next year and a half of our life was filled with chemo, labs, MRIs and ER visits.

We truly believe that the only way we could all endure this journey of cancer was by God’s grace. Anna Lee has taught us so much about life and how to truly live it. She was so brave and strong during all of the craziness. We are so blessed and proud to call her our daughter. We found that holding our family close brought great comfort.

Now that Anna Lee is eleven she is such a little nurturer herself. She has compassion and a deep concern for others. She enjoys spending time with her brothers. Although her chemo is over we still deal with the aftermath of injecting our girl with a toxin in order to save her life. Anna Lee continues to require MRIs and will for the rest of her life. We will take it and will thank The One True God for the opportunity to parent her on this earth for as long as possible.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503We can’t say enough about CURE and what it represents. We are so grateful for their concern for our children and finding a cure for all pediatric cancers.

Blessings,
Lynn and Joe Weber

 


September 25th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Kaylee Crapps

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 25, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Kaylee Crapps. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Kaylee’s fundraising page. 

Kaylee Crapps PhotoIn late July 2013, 17-month-old Kaylee had not been acting herself. She was lethargic, crying when she wasn’t being held, and not eating much. Although the first week of this, her mother thought Kaylee was just teething. Finally, she decided to make an appointment with the pediatrician on August 1st. The Doctor did a check up and noticed her pale complexion and bruising. She did a blood test to check Kaylee for Anemia. The blood test not only showed she was anemic, but her white blood count was through the roof and her red blood cells and platelets were extremely low. She advised Kaylee’s parents to take her to Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital immediately to meet with the hematologist.

After arriving at CHOA, Kaylee endured more blood tests and met with an Oncologist who told her parents the news that their sweet, sassy, 17-month-old little girl – lover of playground slides and Elmo – had cancer. Kaylee was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). For the next few weeks, Kaylee and her parents lived in the hospital while she had multiple transfusions, surgery to have a port placed in her chest, x-rays, bone marrow samples taken, and started chemo to begin her two-and-a-half year battle.

Kaylee is now two-and-a-half years old and still enduring her daily cancer treatment. But, by the grace of God, a day doesn’t go by without seeing a smile out of her. She loves going to the pool with friends, playing in the yard with her two dogs, saying hello to anyone that passes by her, eating an endless amount of macaroni and cheese, and singing and Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503dancing to the movie ‘Frozen.’ She is the light on some very scary days and has shown amazing courage and fight in such a tiny little package. She is truly our little hero and we feel blessed that we were chosen to be her parents. She still has over a year to fight this beast that is cancer, but we remain faithful that she WILL beat this! Jeremiah 29:11 is her battle scripture that we lean on. Join us in the journey to #pray4K and see how she is doing on www.kayleesbattle.com.

Kaylee’s “cure date” has been set for December 3rd 2015.


September 25th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Grace Buckel

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 25, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Grace Buckel. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Grace’s fundraising page. 

Grace Buckel PhotoIt’s been two years since Grace was diagnosed with cancer. So much has happened since then and our family is grateful for every single day that takes us further away from that diagnosis. This past year, our family went on Grace’s Make-A-Wish trip, a wonderful trip to New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Also, Grace attended Camp Sunshine this summer, took a trip to Disney, and is now a high school sophomore. Life looks more “normal” every day. As always, we continue to pray daily that Grace will remain cancer-free and healthy.

By now you know our story, but as a reminder, here is a glimpse into our lives when Grace was diagnosed. Back in February of 2012, Grace complained of pain above her right knee, believing she had been kicked during a soccer game. For several weeks, we sought treatment at a chiropractor, treating her pain as a sports injury. Eventually, however, we made our way to an orthopedic sports medicine doctor the Friday before Spring Break began. After just one x-ray, he knew that this was no sports injury. In fact, I was told Grace had either an infection or a “growth”, and he wanted her to have an MRI immediately. After asking Grace to leave the room, I asked him if by growth, he meant tumor.  His answer was, yes. My heart dropped to my stomach. From there, our lives changed on a dime. We got a phone call from the doctor that night and our Spring Break trip was cancelled. Instead of Spring Break, we were scheduled for an MRI on Saturday and a biopsy on Monday. Hearing the doctor confirm our worst fears was nightmarish; there’s no other way to put it. But it wasn’t the hardest part. No, the hardest part was telling Grace, and then telling her older sister, Caroline. Throughout all we had to endure, so far, that day alone was hardest.

Once Grace was diagnosed, her road to recovery began. We very quickly completed scans, met her oncologist and learned what Grace’s protocol would be. We also learned about osteosarcoma, which is a bone cancer that occurs during a growth spurt, a genetic mutation that turns normal cells into abnormal cells. Typically, osteo occurs in males, African American. So, why Grace? In actuality, we’ve seen the disease in boys and girls equally, with no regard to race.

Soon, Grace had surgery for her port placement and began chemo treatment immediately. Our first walk to the Aflac cancer unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was heartbreaking. This was really happening and there was no going back. My heart truly broke for my child that day. I didn’t want her to have to endure what was coming – the nausea, being bald and missing out on so much. Throughout those long months of treatment, however, the unit became a safe place to land with so many wonderful nurses who came to mean so much during that time. And CURE was always there, with information, meals, smiles or just someone to talk to.

Grace endured so much, but we have come so far. For now, she has scans every three months and we follow up with her surgeon every six months. I recall asking Grace if she ever wondered why she was chosen for cancer. Her answer, “No, I know it’s God’s plan for me.” That’s my wise child, so strong.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Although the road of cancer was incredibly difficult, we have much to be thankful for: Grace is cancer-free today, her leg is 98% healed, and she is enjoying life fully. We also continue to be grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses at Scottish Rite, the support of family and friends, and the support of organizations like CURE Childhood Cancer – which works here in Atlanta to find a cure for childhood cancer. They also provide patient and family support on an ongoing basis. Please consider giving to CURE, for Grace and so many others like her.


September 24th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Beydn Swink

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 24, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Beydn Swink. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Beydn’s fundraising page. 

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I believe in Heaven.

Beydn Swink was a beautiful ten year old boy. He was the oldest between his two military families. He loved Star Wars, dinosaurs, and riding his bike with his Mom. He played video games, participated in sports, and of course the usual burping contest. Beydn was a fan of the Braves and the Panthers. He loved going to North Carolina and, like his mom, loved to read. Beydn loooved books. Was hard to get him to put them down.

I believe in Heaven because of Beydn. But I don’t believe in the place up in the clouds. I believe it’s a place like here, but the people there sit back and watch us. I believe Beydn did that. I believe he saw his mom, a person who didn’t want kids, and came to her. I believe he came to her because he saw then what we see now at how amazing of a mom she is. She’s the best mom I’ve ever known.

On November 3rd, 2013 Beydn was diagnosed with T Cell ALL Leukemia. Cancer. Beydn who never got sick. Beydn who was always active, always on the go. Who wrestled with his brothers, and flopped around on roller skates. Who went to 5th grade. Beydn who loved root beer floats and pizza. Beydn got cancer and then four months later, he was gone.

The roller coaster ride of those few months was a nightmare. Because Beydn beat cancer. Beydn got clean scans and hit remission. But good news turned to worse. Invasive fungal infections are common in patients with lowered immune systems. Chemotherapy lowered Beydn’s immune system and two invasive fungal infections showed up. Aspergillus and Scedosporium.

I don’t believe Heaven is a place where we go when we die. I believe it’s a place where we leave to come and live. I don’t know why Beydn went back so early. Why ten years was supposed to be enough. None of us do, and even if we ever found out why, the reason would never be good enough. On February 22nd, 2014, Beydn went back to Heaven, where you don’t fear death, but anticipate the next chance to live again.

Beydn wanted to go places. He wanted to see Greece and Hawaii. Beydn wanted to go to Chile and see the jungle. He wished he could be a superhero who could fly around the playground or rescue cats from trees. Beydn was supposed to turn eleven and start middle school. He wasn’t supposed to leave. It’s not the right order of things.

His parents are aiming to try and stop leukemia and fungal infections. You can follow Beydn’s journey also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/forbeydn. Also, you may watch a touching video made in his honor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjN_BrjJ13s

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503I believe Beydn’s in Heaven now. Watching over his siblings. I believe he comes and holds his mom’s hand when she’s sad and I believe he knows why it only had to be ten years. But even though it was only ten years, I’m glad he came. I’m glad he set into motion what was supposed to be set into motion. I’m glad he came, I’ll just never understand why he left.


September 24th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Griffin Sewell

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 24, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Griffin Sewell. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Griffin’s fundraising page. 

Griffin Sewell Photo“I don’t feel well.” That’s the start of Griffin’s cancer journey. Griffin had a fever of 102 and a recent flu mist vaccine. We had a doctor visit the next Monday that determined a probable vigorous reaction to the vaccine. Thankfully, his strep test was negative. On Thursday, Griffin’s temperature was still 100 plus so we decided to schedule a second doctor’s appointment. During that appointment they did some blood work, which came back fine. Next, they decided to check for mono and get a chest X-ray for possible pneumonia. Both came back negative.

Friday, I was convinced that he had Lyme disease due to a recent rash that I thought was ringworm. The doctor saw us a third time and started us on an antibiotic. One week to the day on Sunday, he still had a fever of 102-103 with no other symptoms. His older cousin thought he was “not really sick – just faking it.” On Sunday evening, he started having severe stomach pain. We knew for sure he didn’t have appendicitis because we had been through the exact same pain scenario in 2011 that resulted in an emergency appendectomy. So, we headed off to Urgent Care where they did some blood work. His blood work revealed his hemoglobin was low. Then the doctor felt his stomach and his liver was enlarged. Crazy! Maybe it was a gallbladder issue: but in a 14 year old?

Next, we went to the hospital for more blood work and a CT scan. Griffin’s blood work was good but his CT showed a liver mass. Our next stop was Egleston on an ambulance at 3 am. An MRI revealed acute liver hematoma. Our surgeon wanted to monitor Griffin for a few days, go home and repeat MRI in two weeks. Griffin’s blood work remained negative for any other issues including cancer markers – they thought a second MRI would show a benign tumor requiring surgery.

During the second week home, the pain returned. The repeat MRI showed that the “mass” had increased by 20% – not good. We were admitted to the hospital and a surgical plan was formed. The pain intensified daily and surgery wasn’t a second too soon. Griffin had a twelve-hour surgery. The right liver lobe was removed during surgery. Fortunately there were no complications.

Then, we got the terrible news – cancer – hepatic undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma (HUES). It’s not often that a kid has his chest cracked, delivers a ten pound tumor, donates sperm and gets ready to lose his hair in a two month time period. Chemo started on December 16th. A total of 14 rounds using five different chemo drugs. His cancer is rare but the prognosis is good.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503A recent CT scan was clear. We are currently on round 12 with the last round in mid-September. Griffin’s visits to the hospital have coincided with Halloween, Thanksgiving, the Christmas holidays, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. He has been fortunate to have the most amazing surgeons, oncologist, medical and hospital support staff. There are many organizations who make cancer treatment bearable. Cancer is the worst word to hear; it’s astronomically the worst word to hear when it’s your child. I thank God every day for Egleston and for the amazing people who have touched our lives on this journey.


September 24th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Abigail Christian

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 24, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Abigail Christian. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Abigial’s fundraising page. 

Abigail Christian PhotoAbigail is a firecracker of a little girl: all cute and sweet on the outside and a true fighter on the inside. She has to be since she is the youngest of four kids!

On June 1st our family had planned to have dinner with Abigail’s grandparents, Aunt and Uncle. This wasn’t just another family dinner – it was special, so special that a professional photographer was scheduled to come capture the moment. Our time as a family was precious and limited because Abigail’s Papa was dying from ocular cancer that metastasized to his liver. We wanted to get a family portrait before things got worse with him.

Abigail was helping bake a strawberry cake for the party when she started bleeding. With a two and a half year old that could be an indication of anything, so at first we weren’t that worried. After trying to clean her up, we realized it wasn’t going to stop and got concerned. The blood didn’t seem to be coming from a scrape. So we grabbed a snack and headed to the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, still expecting to get back home in time for dinner and pictures. Unfortunately we never made it back home that night. In fact, we didn’t come back home for a week.

When we first arrived at the emergency department, the doctor thought it might be a bladder infection, but those tests came out negative. I started describing the symptoms Abigail had for the past month: tummy aches, wetting her pants (after being potty trained), occasionally throwing up, excessive whining and crying, and not eating well. I had actually taken her in to the pediatrician the week before because I was so concerned. They tested her for food allergies which had come out negative so I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong… I just knew something was. The trip to CHOA changed everything.

The ER doctor read the ultrasound and then broke the news. Abigail had a tumor in her left kidney, probably Wilm’s cancer. It was surreal. I heard what he said, but it didn’t really register.

Cancer?…This healthy looking, beautiful baby girl? Maybe I didn’t hear right? Maybe he guessed wrong – doctors could be wrong.

Surely this was not happening? Especially not at the SAME TIME my Dad was fighting for the precious months left in his life!! What are the odds? Right then and there, I got down on my knees and prayed to Jesus to for the life of my baby. I gave my precious, blonde-headed, pig-tail-wearing, drink-stealing, shark-smiling (that’s LOTS of teeth), chubby-cheeked little baby girl up to the Lord. Our faith is the only thing that has allowed us to survive this whole ordeal.

It was really awful breaking the news to my Dad – he was devastated. I think he felt it was somehow his fault, like he had passed on a genetic marker for this awful disease. Back in 1988, my Dad had his first bout of cancer – kidney cancer. Of course there is no link between adult and childhood kidney cancers, but he didn’t know that then. Family and friends began rallying around us, praying for our family to beat this disease that was attacking both Abby and Dad.

After surgery to remove her kidney, Abigail began 20 weeks of chemo – typical Stage 2 Wilm’s tumor protocol with Vincristine and Dactinomycin. I often joked with my husband, Alan, that Abby had “chemo lite,” especially compared to the many incredible kids we saw in the clinic. Those kids are my heroes.

When Abigail was not getting chemo, she played with her siblings: Lex, Ana and Andrew. We created endless amounts of art together, twirled like princesses and played with all the new toys that friends and family sent our way. Our family, church friends and community were extremely generous. They were taking our big kids on adventures, bringing us dinner, mailing singing cards, bringing gifts for all of the kids and even us parents. It was humbling to be served by so many people, some of whom we don’t even know!

On Father’s Day June 2013, the Atlanta tornado held off long enough for us to take those family photos we really wanted to get and they turned out beautifully. You would never know by looking at the photo that two people in that smiling, happy family have cancer. Those two are joined together in a very special way no matter what happens. Abigail has a giant scar on her abdomen that is identical to the one her Papa has since they both had their left kidney removed.

In September, Abigail will be cancer free for six months! We are thrilled with this major milestone. While we sadly mourn the passing of her Papa, we know that he is watching Abigail from heaven and rejoicing for her health.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Since we have come out on “the other end”, we are endlessly crusading for better treatment and cures for childhood cancer. Just in the past six months, we have two more friends with children fighting for their lives. Please join us in this fight and contribute to research funding CURE. As Abigail says, “let’s take that cancer and throw it in the trash can!!”


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    YOUR DONATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE

    When you make a donation to CURE Childhood Cancer, you are directly supporting CURE's annual $2.5 million commitment to fund life-saving pediatric research as well as helping us meet the critical and urgent needs of patients and families in the midst of their battle.

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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 luncheon tickets, click here to purchase raffle tickets, or click here to bid in the online auction.