Cure Childhood Cancer

CURE Blog


September 18th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Abby Boone

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 18, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Abby Boone. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Abby’s fundraising page. 

Abby Boone PhotoI can’t believe it’s almost September again… Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Before March 11, 2011, I really never thought about Childhood Cancer Awareness. It was something that didn’t happen to me, right? All things changed at 2:40 that afternoon when we received the phone call NO parent wants to hear: “Kim, Jamey… Abby has leukemia. Cancer. And she needs to start a 2.5 year protocol to try to save her life.”

That day, our lives changed forever. Our world revolved around doctor appointments, days at the clinic, spreadsheets of medicine dosages, and arranging activities around blood count levels. Throughout the year, Abby received 15 bags of blood or platelets, I had to take her to the ER nine times, and we spent over 50 days in the hospital.

Our lives and perspectives are forever changed and we’ll never stop trying to raise money for childhood cancer research. Why? Because, while Abby is doing GREAT and has been off treatment for a year, there’s always the chance that she’ll relapse. She still goes to PT once a week to fight the long term side effects of cancer. There’s always another email, phone call, or text that I’m getting that another CHILD was just diagnosed and asking if I can help be an emotional support for the family. Of course I’ll be the emotional support, but I’d rather live in a world where funding for our children, our future, is important.

Did you know:

• Only 4 cents of every dollar for cancer research goes to children.
• Every year, an estimate of 263,000 new cases of cancer effect children under the age of 20 worldwide. That’s 720 new kids affected EVERY DAY.
• Every day, approximately 250 kids around the world die from cancer.
• Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S.
• Two-thirds of childhood cancer patients will have long lasting chronic conditions from the treatment and many have secondary cancers.
• One in 330 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they’re 20 years old.
• In the last 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only TWO pediatric cancer drugs that were initially studied in children. Other drugs for children’s cancers were first studied in or approved for adults with cancer, and adult and children cancers are very different.
• The average death of a child with cancer is 8, causing a childhood cancer victim to loose 69 years of expected life years; a significant loss of productivity to society.

The truth is that without you and other loyal supporters stepping up time and time again to make a financial donation, the kids don’t have a chance. While there is great progress being made, in my book it isn’t good enough until I don’t get any more emails, texts, or phone calls about another child being diagnosed or another child passing away from this horrible disease.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503I can’t thank you enough for your continued care and concern, and if you are led to donate, please do. If not, please at least pass along the information to help us spread awareness of this horrible disease. We celebrated Abby’s one year off treatment this past July, and we sincerely hope we never see or hear the word cancer again. Please help us make surviving a reality for all these children… they are our future.


September 18th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Katrina Lyerly

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 18, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Katrina Lyerly. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Katrina’s fundraising page. 

Katrina Lyerly photoI’m Katrina Lyerly and I am 17-years old. I’m usually described as outgoing, silly, and unpredictable. Life has always been my playground, whether I’ve encountered difficult obstacles or discovered successful pathways. I’ve always loved challenges. I’m intrigued by complex issues and love to feel the satisfaction of victory. When life proposed its own hardship, specifically for me, my usual confidence was immediately struck down. I remember hearing the word “cancer.” It was like an instant brain freeze you get when drinking a slushy too fast. Except the pain from the word “cancer” didn’t just vanish in thirty seconds. The pain from the word cancer spread just like its physical ability to spread. My emotions connected to cancer. They stabbed me in my heart then overpowered my mind and occasionally weakened my stomach. Even though I couldn’t feel the disease in me I felt its emotional effects every day. As much as I didn’t want to accept cancer, my tears often suffocated me at night and burned rolling down my cheeks, making me accept it. Throughout my journey, acceptance has become my best friend. I’ve learned that you can’t fight without acceptance and you can’t have victory without it either. You must accept that you have cancer – not a simple disease. Cancer cannot define you, nor can it determine your fate. Life is in your own hands and once you accept hardships, only triumph can follow.

I began my journey in 2012 with a neck biopsy that uncovered various cancerous cells throughout my neck. I then had my first surgery where my whole thyroid was removed. Next, I went through the worse part in my opinion – my radiation. I took radiation pills which killed any leftover cells. Along with killing these cells, it killed a few of my tastebuds and left me with a ridiculous burning sensation internally and externally throughout my neck.

As my life began to go back to normal, a CT scan revealed more cancer located in the lymph nodes of my neck. I had to go through a second surgery. The doctors called this a “bilateral neck dissection,” which I like because it sounds super fancy. Despite how fancy it sounds, this surgery was nowhere near simple. This was the most painful and had the longest recovery time. My confidence was nonexistent but my defeat was clearly present. Somewhere, deep down, I found this little solider that was always there. I had to love and believe in myself even though everyone else said they did. Their opinions truly couldn’t help or motivate me until I found my own drive. Once I got past the, “why me” factor and the, “I’d give up I’d rather die” stage I reached the, “is that all you got, cancer?” phase. I began to accept the pieces of my life puzzle. I went through another round of radiation. Then I was hit with the news of possible relocation of the cancer in my lungs. I also accept this and found it in myself to believe I was a fighter. Fortunately these cells were benign. My radiation rounds are not finished yet but my cancer journey sure is.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503I am so proud to be a survivor. I love the person I have become and I have no limit to my abilities. My story is very mediocre. Sometimes I feel as if I shouldn’t be in the same category as other childhood cancer survivors. Then I think, we are all fighters no matter the extent or stage of your cancer. I may not have had the worse physical effects of cancer but I was hit with the emotional part just as hard. Each survivor will never be the same and I can guarantee they will love themselves more after fighting. I love to say my journey is over with cancer but I’m not scared to say bring it on! Cancer has no bad effect on me and never will. I’m still going through radiation and I am still proud to be a fighter two years strong.


September 18th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Nolan Goldklang

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 18, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Nolan Goldklang. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Nolan’s fundraising page. 

Nolan Goldklang Photo

Nolan was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in the summer of 2011, when he was just eight-years-old. Nolan’s father is an adult oncologist and he knew just how difficult Nolan’s chemotherapy treatment was. It was so hard to watch Nolan suffer physically during his treatment. We learned that cancer is a disease that affects the entire family. Our family truly suffered during that time. Nolan’s six-year-old sister, Aubrey, had her world turned upside down.  Because Nolan was inpatient for five months, a parent was always with him. I stopped working while Nolan was in treatment. We all rallied and we are still healing. Nolan has been in remission for two and a half years and we are so thankful for all the support that we had during his treatment.

I remember when Nolan was finishing up treatment a nurse saying, “Life will never be the same but you will have a new normal,” she was right. Life is now defined as Before or After Nolan presented.

Nolan is doing amazingly well and we are so thankful. Nolan was able to go to sleep away camp this summer, something we thought he might never do.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503We have met so many amazing people on Nolan’s journey, which has become OUR journey. We have learned so much and see that very little advancements have been made to treat childhood cancer. We love CURE Childhood Cancer for its grass roots efforts, giving families comfort during their journey and for the valuable research they make happen.


September 17th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Joe Chapman

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 17, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Joe Chapman. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day At A Time! Donate to Joe’s fundraising page.

As I sit here trying to write the words to Joe’s story, I am reminded of the times I saw the TV commercials for children fighting cancer and thinking to myself that could never happen to my children. It can, and it did.

Joe Chapman Photo

It was in April of 2006 that I received a call from Joe’s stepmom (Joe had been living in Georgia with she and his Dad). She was concerned because Joe wasn’t eating well, sleeping all day, and just not feeling well at all. She is a nurse so she immediately took him in for tests and in the next couple of days, received a call that his cells were atypical. They immediately took him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston where they officially received his diagnosis. He had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. That was on Friday April 14, 2006. I was down there by Saturday and we spent the next week in the hospital. I came back home to Illinois the day Joe went home with his dad and stepmom. I was prepared to travel back and forth for as long as it took.

I went back down the next weekend. He had just been in clinic on that Friday when his doctor noticed a lump in his right leg. They decided to keep him, and by the next week we were in ICU where we would spend the next month. He had contracted an infection from 2 intramuscular chemo shots in both legs. After spending that month in ICU, the doctors realized he had an infection in his other leg as well. The chemotherapy continued while we were in the hospital, as did multiple procedures to drain his wounds on his legs. Joe had lost most of his mobility so he wasn’t walking. By August, he was doing better, and the decision was made to send him to Scottish Rite for physical therapy to see if he could walk again. He was still getting chemo and it was very hard for him to do everything he needed to do to strengthen his legs. His Dad and I made the decision to have him discharged, and go home for a while.

Once home, he started eating again, and in general, looked 100% better. I stayed in Georgia until January of 2007, when we had to make another decision concerning our daughter, who was pregnant, and living with friends and family while I was with Joe. I still made periodic trips back and forth and Joe came up for Spring Break. By that summer, he was feeling tons better, and was able to go to camp at Camp Sunshine. He was so excited to be able to do this! After that, I picked him up, and he came back to Illinois where he had decided to live again. By then, he was in maintenance and it was easy to get him started at Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. We continued his treatment, and in February of 2008, he was able to get his feet operated on to be able to walk again. He had lots of nerve damage from the chemo and a severe case of drop foot that no amount of physical therapy would be able to fix. After six weeks, and two casts, he took his first steps after 1 year and 10 months of not walking. I can remember vividly his sister coming home and crying after seeing him walk again. After that, he was able to be on the go more often. Even though I still worried, I let him. He was still taking medicine, doing monthly treatments at Riley’s, and having so much fun being able to go and hang out with his friends again.

He finished 7th grade, had an uneventful year, went to Camp Sunshine again, then spent some time with his Dad, and family in Georgia. He was soon home where he started his 8th grade year. It went by without a hitch. He graduated 8th grade in May of 2009 after being able to take a class trip to Holiday World in Indiana.

On May 21st we had to do a bone marrow aspiration. His Doctor was concerned because his counts had been a little low. We got the results that day and the cancer had returned. I was devastated but he just looked at me and said, “Mom, it’s okay, we beat it once, we can do it again.” Life was back to the old new normal but for the first few weeks, he seemed to feel really good. His sister and I were tested but not a match for the bone marrow transplant he now needed. A non-family donor was found and it would be September before we could get the transplant.

He had to be cancer free. We did outpatient chemo and in June, he had an infection that required a five-day stay. We were in the hospital again for five days in July for inpatient chemo. Over the 4th of July weekend we searched for fireworks from his hospital window in the rain. On July 10th we made our final trip to the hospital. He had spiked a fever, and was admitted. The last couple of weeks had finally worn his poor body down.

On July 17, 2009 at 5:35 P.M., my son took his last breath. I, along with his father, my Mom, brother, sister-in-law, and his sisters Brittany, Hillary, and Kaelynn were there with him. He also had 2 brothers, who were not there, Benjamin and Evan.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503We miss him. His friends and extended family miss him. We miss that smile and that deep, deep laugh that would come out of nowhere when he was tickled by something. I try not to question but I sometimes wonder in a world where so much technology is available, why we can’t find a cure for the cancer that is stealing America’s future. I am thankful for organizations like CURE Childhood Cancer who are devoted to finding that cure.


September 16th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Hudson Lillystone

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 16, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Hudson Lillystone. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Hudson’s fundraising page. 

Hudson Lillystone PhotoHudson’s story began on November 7th 2013. She had been feeling under the weather and complaining of stomach pains for a few days. A trip to the doctor initially diagnosed this as strep throat but, after medication, she was not feeling any better. Hudson’s mom, Emily, took her back to the doctor where they decided to do some blood work just to have a quick check. The very next day, we received a call telling us to take Hudson straight to the Emergency Room at Egleston because it appeared our Lilly might have Leukemia.

It was a heart stopping moment for us. It is impossible to describe the feeling when driving your three-year-old girl to the hospital under these circumstances. When we arrived, tests were conducted and it was confirmed that Hudson had Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Treatment began immediately and Hudson was in the hospital for close to two weeks.

We have been fortunate since treatment began. Hudson has responded very well to the chemo during each intense stage of the process. It was difficult for her in the beginning; most days involved her lying on the sofa. Once home, Hudson was in pain and didn’t really understand why. She is incredibly strong (#hudsonstrong to be precise) and has met each challenge head on. She quickly came to grips with her “new life.” When health permits, she can be found outside playing with her friends just like any other kid her age.

She understands that the medicine is needed to beat the dragon inside of her and has never doubted the outcome we all know is coming – a complete recovery at the end of her treatments in early 2016.

A great example of her strength and optimism was when her hair began to fall out. Rather than putting anything off, she stood up and asked to have her head shaved. She stood smiling and laughing throughout. We call her Hudson Strong for a reason; she continues to defy her illness and inspire all who she meets. Hudson has just begun her maintenance phase. Hudson has also been selected to be a part of a research studio through Aflac for reduced dose treatment. This keeps her out of the hospital for prolonged periods of time and really allows her to live normally.

Her Make A Wish was to learn to surf in Hawaii. We just returned after seeing her stand and surf all by herself almost immediately.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503She thinks nothing of attending fundraising events to help raise awareness to this awful disease and I doubt that this aspect of her life will ever change.


September 16th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Anderson Krieger

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 16, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Anderson Krieger. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Anderson’s fundraising page. 

Anderson Krieger PhotoWhen our ten-year-old son, Anderson, came to us with chest pains in the middle of the night on February 16, 2013, we thought it was a pulled muscle. Anderson was an avid baseball player and had just had his weekly batting lesson a few days before. The next day he woke up ready to cheer on his brother, Ian, at his swim meet. About halfway through the meet, Anderson began crying and saying that his chest hurt again and he could not breathe well. Worried it might be the start of pneumonia, we took him to the local ER where x-rays were taken. We were told it was likely the start of a virus along with a pulled muscle and were sent home.

As the weekend progressed, Anderson’s symptoms worsened. He began vomiting and running high fever. After visiting our pediatrician, she advised us to take him to Scottish Rite for more tests. The doctors there decided to admit Anderson because his blood work was a little “off.” After one night in the hospital, we received the news no parent ever wants to hear. The doctors told us that Anderson’s blood was showing “blasts” indicating that he had leukemia. One more test would need to be done to confirm the diagnosis. With broken hearts, we went back to Anderson’s room to tell him.

The next morning, the final test confirmed that Anderson had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). The next few days were a whirlwind as Anderson was taken into surgery to implant his port and begin his first round of chemotherapy.

The first month of treatment proved challenging as Anderson developed a life-threatening infection in his intestines. In the early hours of March 18th, Anderson was taken into surgery in hopes to repair the perforation in his intestines. After the surgery, Anderson was on a ventilator for eleven days while his body continued to fight. Anderson’s hospital stay was a total of nine weeks, including two weeks in the Rehabilitation Unit where he had to learn to walk again since the infection had moved into the upper muscles of his right leg. Anderson was finally released to go home on May 7, 2013. He continued with outpatient rehabilitation for several weeks and still receives weekly physical therapy.

Anderson is currently in remission and in the maintenance stage of chemotherapy. He has less than two years of treatment left and is handling it all like a champ. He still has difficulty running, but it has not stopped him from getting back out on the field and playing his favorite sport, baseball.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503Even though we are over the rough part, we continue to be mindful of the complications that can arise as part of his continued therapy. There are also long term effects that may come up later in life as a result of chemotherapy. For now, we are thankful for the advances in medicine that have successfully put Anderson’s leukemia in remission. We give God all the glory and pray daily for a cure to childhood cancer. We would love for you to partner with us and support the CURE organization in their efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer. Together we can make a difference.


September 15th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Nicolas Duncan

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 15, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Nicolas Duncan. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Nicolas’ fundraising page.

Nicholas Duncan Photo

In June 2011, while being treated for lymphadenitis, during the second surgery, the pathology report indicated the presence of cancer cells in the infected lymph node in the neck of my ten-year-old son. By the time he completed the PET scan, he was diagnosed with stage 4, “B-Cell Precursor, Lymphoblastic Lymphoma.” He has been on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) treatment since then which is scheduled to be in place until October 2014. He has been through 137 rounds of chemotherapy, 31 procedures under anesthesia, 27 chemo injections via spinal tap, 35 breathing treatments, and a total of 51 days in the hospitals, along with hundreds of oral chemo medicines.

We celebrated his 14th birthday in July and we will have a bigger celebration in October 2014, as he reaches the finish line. Throughout his journey, he has participated in many fundraising events such as singing, running, play performances and piano recitals. In June 2012 he was featured in a CNN interview. In May of 2014, he performed his original song on stage at the “Shaky Knees Festival” in Atlanta with the legendary Tommy Stinson.

As part of acute lymphoblastic leukemia regimen, many kids have to be on a long-term high dosage of steroid, which in our case had led Nicholas to a bone condition called “Osteonecrosis.” Many of patients over age of ten will have to follow adult treatment regimen and according to our oncology team, it is very common for this age group (especially male patients) to have joint replacements during or shortly after their end of treatment. This is all another reason that research and finding a cure for pediatric cancer is so important.

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CURE Childhood Cancer has been a great channel for kids and parents that are unfortunate to face this evil by themselves. During our hospital stays and clinic visits, we have witnessed all the fun events as well as generous donations that were sponsored by CURE. My family we thank CURE for their support and presence through the darkest era of our life.


September 15th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Creed Campbell

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 15, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Creed Campbell. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Creed’s fundraising page. 

Creed entered this world 11 weeks earlier than expected. Weighing only two pounds, he had a lot of catching up to do. He arrived home after 91 days in the NICU only to return back to the hospital for another extensive stay.

This seemed to be the beginning of what his life would be like. For the next five years it was just that – in and out of the hospital. Never knowing what the root of the problem was. Always treating the symptoms, but never being able to figure out really what was going on.

In January of 2010 we found out that Creed had a blood disorder called Myelodyplasia / Monosomy 7. The only treatment for this was a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. In August of 2010, Creed underwent intensive chemotherapy and total body irradiation in preparation for the transplant. The next seven months were spent at Egleston Children’s Hospital.

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He was completely cured from the disease after the transplant, but did encounter many issues that were again unexplainable. These issues eventually caused him to earn his wings at age seven on April 15, 2012. Creed never let this life get him down and was a fighter until the very end.


September 14th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Liam Howell

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 14, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Liam Howell. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Liam’s fundraising page. 

Liam Howell PhotoMy name is Liam, and on August 1, 2007 I was born with a rare pediatric cancer called congenital fibrosarcoma. At two-days old, I had major surgery to remove the tumor that was 10 centimeters in diameter protruding off my back. When my surgeon went in, he found part of my tumor had rooted in my abdominal wall. Mommy and Daddy had learned that the tumor had grown through the gaps of my ribs and into my lung cavity while I was forming in Mommy’s womb. Fortunately, it didn’t metastasize. I began chemotherapy at two-and-a-half weeks old. After two rounds of chemo, my tumor began shrinking out of my lung cavity and thinning through my ribs. I continued chemo and tolerated it well considering what it does to the body. There were challenges, but my doctors remained positive. I would beat my cancer.

At three-months old, I developed a rare side effect of chemo called VOD (veno occlusive disease)—it affects the function of the liver. My liver recovered faster than the doctors expected, and it is completely healthy now. At nine-months old, I finished my ninth round of chemo. I had a biopsy to check for any remaining cancer tissue, and the results showed the tumor tissue was gone!! What remained was normal and showed zero similarities to my original tumor. My oncologist, who I love dearly and still enjoy visiting, decided it would be wise to do two more rounds of chemo to kill any microscopic cells left. In April 2008, I had my last push of chemo and in May 2008, I was officially in remission! Over the next two years, I was checked frequently through CAT scans and MRIs, but now, I am so happy to announce that as of July 20, 2012, I am officially a cancer SURVIVOR!! I no longer need any scans and will be entering a survivorship program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

My journey with cancer has completely shifted. My possibility of scoliosis was high because my spine had to form around the tumor, but treating cancer was most important. At two-years old, scoliosis became real. I was diagnosed with a severe 70 degree curve in my spine. If uncorrected, my left lung wouldn’t develop to adult capacity. In January 2009, a VEPTR growing rod was placed in my back. For the first time, cancer took a back seat, and that is wonderful news to any cancer patient! Three days after the VEPTR surgery, I was running around like normal! Cancer never stopped me from being a high-energy little boy who soaks up every ounce of life, and neither did this!

For six months I wore a back brace, but Mommy and Daddy convinced me it was my “Iron Man” gear. In July 2010, I had my first of several VEPTR lengthening—I did great with that surgery, and my spine is down to a 45-degree curve! Since then, I have grown into a tall, active, handsome little man who loves school, legos, superheroes, and spending time with my family watching the Cosby Show. I grew so tall that this past May, I had to have the entire VEPTR system replaced. It was a very hard surgery for me because it involved moving both muscle and bone. I was super brave but recovery was long and painful. I am good to go now, and I even told Mommy I am grateful for the VEPTR rod because it helps me not tilt and be active like normal boys and girls.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503One of my favorite things in life is being a big brother to my sister, Abbi. She drives me crazy sometimes, but she is my best friend. We do everything together; we love to have campouts in my room, dance parties to Rio 2 sound track, and I even let her play with my legos… sometimes. I am in second grade and have learned to speak Spanish. My school is an immersion school, and I love learning in other languages. My favorite sport to play is baseball, but I watch every sport ESPN has to offer! I am a solid Braves and UGA fan. You won’t convince me to love any other teams. My parents remain strong, and my family feels blessed to have the doctors and support we have had over the past seven years, and CURE has played a major role in that!!


September 14th, 2014

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Jacob Zamuel

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 14, 2014 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Jacob Zamuel. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Jacob’s fundraising page. 

Jacob Zamuel PhotoWe knew Jacob was special when he was born three weeks early, in July 2012. But at that time we didn’t know he was a superhero.

At only six-weeks of age, Jacob had surgery to remove blockage in his stomach so he would be able to digest food properly. The procedure worked, but Jacob continued to have issues with his stomach. After several visits to our pediatrician, we finally asked for an X-ray of his abdomen. Following additional scans, it was determined that Jacob had a large mass of blood taking up 60 percent of his abdomen and pushing on his vital organs. He was admitted to the hospital immediately and we spent the next 10 days in Pediatric ICU while Jacob received his second surgery to remove the large mass.

Afterwards, the surgeon informed us that they also removed his adrenal gland and lymph node after finding a tumor at the bottom of the mass. The next few days were a blur; especially when we found out our five-month-old baby boy had cancer and was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. Following surgery, Jacob was considered NED (no evidence of disease). Because of his age and the fact that he no longer had the disease in his body, we decided to go off therapy and monitor for the disease with monthly ultrasounds. We only made it about two months before being admitted back into the hospital. On March 16, 2013, Jacob started chemotherapy treatment for a tumor that was wrapped around his kidney and an additional disease behind his eye. Jacob handled it all like a true superhero.

For the next year or so, we spent many days and nights in the hospital, sometimes sick, sometimes just waiting for his blood counts to rise. We also frequented the ER with fevers, which in turn put us back in the hospital. But, through all of it, Jacob continued to be a strong and happy kid even though he spent the majority of his first year of his life sitting in a crib in a hospital. He always bounced back and couldn’t wait to go home to see his big sister and his dog.

As of August 2013, following induction therapy, Jacob was NED again. The tumor wrapped around his kidney and the disease behind his eye was completely gone. It was a miracle and we were thrilled. Jacob proved once again that he really was a superhero. Jacob finished treatment on July 25, 2014, one day before his 2nd birthday. He continues to remain cancer free.

Screen-Shot-2012-09-07-at-1.56.52-PM27-150x1503It’s hard to recall all the time and things we went through during his treatment. We know that he spent his first birthday sick in the hospital. And, we know that he received more surgeries in his first year of life than most people have in a lifetime. And our hope is that Jacob will NEVER remember any of it. Through it all, Jacob always came out of it stronger and happier. He is a true superhero.


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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.