September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Lauren. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Lauren’s fundraising page.
March 2014 started out like any other month, with school projects and stirring plans for the upcoming Spring Break. For Lauren and her two sisters, March also brought a yucky stomach bug that was making its way around the schools. Her two older sisters got better after 24 hours, but Lauren’s nausea wouldn’t subside. After 3 days of nausea and headache, Lauren’s pediatrician suggested that her parents take her to the Emergency Room to be treated for possible dehydration. While there, the Emergency Room Physician suggested that Lauren undergo a quick CT scan of her head to make sure that there was nothing else causing the headache. To everyone’s surprise, there WAS something there.
Just two weeks before her 10th birthday, Lauren was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The next morning, Lauren underwent a six-hour brain surgery to remove the tumor. After waiting approximately a week for lab results to confirm, Lauren’s doctors discovered that the cause of her tumor was a rare and aggressive form of cancer called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, or ATRT. Over the next several weeks, Lauren underwent a series of tests and surgeries to prepare her body to fight the disease. In early April, Lauren began a treatment protocol for her type of cancer, which included 51 weeks of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation. Although the chemotherapy could be done locally at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Lauren and her family had to spend two months in Jacksonville, Florida for the radiation portion of her treatment.
Lauren endured significant side effects from chemotherapy, including skin burns, loss of hair, hearing damage, and extreme pain and weight loss. Thankfully, though, Lauren completed her treatment protocol in April 2015, and she has been such a trooper through it all. Despite some setbacks and the many side effects of chemotherapy, Lauren continues to smile and be strong. Her motto is, “I am tougher than cancer!” Lauren has proven this motto to be true by enduring many tests since treatment completion, including several questionable MRIs. But, the most recent MRI result declared that she is cancer free! Now her focus is on living the life of a normal kid and helping other kids through their journey by raising awareness and spreading hope! Due to Lauren’s diligence in keeping up with her studies throughout treatment, Lauren will be entering middle school on schedule in August with all of her friends there to cheer her on! Lauren and her family are so extremely thankful for the support and encouragement from CURE Childhood Cancer.