Cure Childhood Cancer

CURE Blog


September 19th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Addyson Vardaman

Addyson Vardaman Photo

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 19, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Addyson Vardaman. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Addyson’s fund.

Addyson was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma on September 12, 2011, just two weeks before her first birthday. It all began with what the Ophthalmologist called Horners Syndrome, causing nerve damage to her right eye. He scheduled a CT scan, and the images showed a large mass growing on the right side of her neck. Immediately, our Oncologist and surgeon took action. The biopsy came back positive for Neuroblastoma. Addyson endured dozens of scans, four rounds of chemotherapy, one blood transfusion, and many trips to the hospital. In December 2011, all her scans came back negative, and by January 2012 she was able to have her port removed. She is currently in remission, and doing great! God has truly blessed us and we are so thankful for the amazing men and woman who make fighting this horrible battle easier!

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September 18th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Christian Angel Ramos

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 18, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Christian Angel Ramos. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Christian’s fund.

Christian Angel Ramos born on January 15, 2010 had it rough since he came into this world. He is a twin to his brother Adrian Alejandro; both preemie babies born at 27 1/2 weeks. Unfortunately, Christian was born with complications. He was diagnosed with chylothorax, which is water in his lungs and was on a breathing ventilator for the first 7 months of his life.

Christian Angel Ramos PhotoOnce he was out of the hospital we went on to trying to get back to normal and adjusting with Christian being back home! Everything seemed to be going great! Christian was growing and receiving therapy since he was delayed in all areas due to his complications and hospitalizations since birth. He was even attending a special school from 9 months until he was 2 years old. That’s when our lives once again completely changed.

It was March of 2012. I was carrying Christian Angel and noticed a lump in his abdomen. I rushed him to the ER where they said to go see his pediatrician. But I needed a second opinion! I couldn’t wait so I rushed him to another local ER from which he was transferred to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Once again was in the battle for his life. At first I couldn’t comprehend what my son was doing at a cancer hospital when he didn’t have cancer. This was all so surreal. I was in complete shock and denial!

A week later my worst fear was confirmed my miracle baby was diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma Stage 3. This news broke my heart into a million peices. I once again found myself in a dark place. This was a complete shock to all of our family. There I was thinking life was back to normal – especially since he was living his best days. He was getting better with his goal of starting to walk! No. I was wrong. The worst was yet to come.

Christian had to overcome 9 cycles of highly toxic and deadly chemotherapy. Each round consisted of 5 days hospitalization; each day receiving chemo. He also received 19 rounds of radiation and 3 surgeries (2 port placements and 1 tumor resection) not to mention the countless times I had to rush him to the ER at 5 or 6 am once the chemo started kicking in with high fevers and nausea/diarrhea. It was like literally going through hell watching him suffer. I had no words to know exactly what he was feeling or going through since he was just 2 years old and not able to communicate his pains and feelings to me.

I call him my Angel on earth ever since he overcame his premature complications but now I have all the more reason to declare him My Angel From God with an unforgettable nightmare he went through. It was right about after his 2nd dose of aggressive chemo he suffered a brain seizure that caused him to stop breathing. I saw this right before my eyes. I thought his battle was over as well as my life. By the Grace of God he came back to life and started breathing on his own. He was on a ventilator for about 1 week before he was breathing well on his own. We never knew the reason for this seizure but we know God was there with him that night. Today Christian’s worst days are history and the best days of his life are ahead of him!

Today Christian is doing great adjusting to being back to home. He also started school this August. Things couldn’t get any better! He started walking 3 months after his third birthday and now he is unstoppable. He enjoys playing in the pool, running, making new friends, and most of all playing with his older brother Hugo, his twin brother Adrian, and his cousins and family. We are beyond blessed with our miracle child. He is now in remission and is on his last month of maintenance therapy of Accutane. He will be having his end of treatment scans the first week of September and I am trusting in the Lord Almighty that my Miracle will continue to be CANCER FREE!! We declare that in the name of  Jesus!!! And this is the special verse that kept me strong throughout this horrific battle!Donate Now


September 18th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Reece McPhail

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 18, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Reece McPhail. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Reece’s fund.

As a parent, nothing ever prepares you for bad news about your child. Reece was a typical kid, very active in sports, loved playing with his friends, and even liked school. His journey started so quickly, we didn’t even know what hit us. In a one week period, we visited his pediatrician a couple of times for the pain he was having, but nothing major showed up.  At the end of the week on Sunday, all of our lives changed.

Reece McPhail Photo 1As we sat waiting at Scottish Rite, we were glad to have such nice doctors and nurses taking care of Reece. After being there about an hour and a half, we were given the news no parent ever wants to hear. Your child has cancer. His diagnosis was probable Leukemia, but more tests were needed. The shock and tears that followed had to be pushed inside as we went back to Reece’s room to talk to him about needing to stay in the hospital a few days. We were moved to the Aflac Inpatient floor and settled in. After a couple of days and more tests, it was conclusive that Leukemia would be the diagnosis. Now we knew what we were up against, but had no idea how the battle would go.

Not having known anybody in the last 15 or more years with Leukemia, the worst fears set in along with more questions than one can comprehend. The biggest question was what is the prognosis and what’s the cure rate. Fifteen years ago, the answer to either of these was not the best. The odds were not good. That’s where the organizations like CURE Childhood Cancer come into play. With the money they have raised for pediatric cancer research, the prognosis and odds are so much better for kids.

CURE not only funds research, they do so many things to help with the overall well being of the kids fighting cancer and for the family that supports them! I will always be grateful for all they have done for our family.

For kids like Reece with Leukemia, it starts out with weekly trips to clinic for tests, chemo, sedations, spinal taps, antibiotics, blood transfusions and platelets just to name a few. Then there are the treatments that require hospital stays, along with the constant fear of fever due to a suppressed immune system. As you can imagine, it is a tremendous battle to fight.

Through it all, Reece has and continues to fight hard. He is Reece with Leukemia when he goes to clinic, takes his nightly medication, and deals with shots and pokes that are part of his battle. But away from the hospital or clinic, he is just Reece, a normal kid in elementary school studying, learning, laughing and playing.

Recently, he went in for a sedation, spinal tap and chemo, came home to rest a little and get rid of a headache from the morning. By the end of the day, you could find him at ice hockey practice keeping up with all the other kids. To say he is our hero is a big understatement.

God has blessed Reece in that he tolerates his chemo well, is able to go on living life as he fights his battle, and continues his journey.

We hope and pray for the day when cancer is no more, until then we are thankful for donations to a cause with our same dreams – CURE.

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September 18th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Ross Pischke

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 18, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Ross Pischke. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Ross’ fund.

As an 18-year-old young man, Ross Pischke, was looking forward to completing his senior year at Woodstock High School. Known for his terrific sense of humor, he was always known to have a kind word for everyone, and his smile could light up a room. He had friends throughout the Towne Lake area, not just the Woodstock district. While the world around him was preparing for the Christmas holiday, Ross was preparing for something much more: the fight of his life. He had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on December 24, 2009.

Ross Pischke PhotoAmong his many activities, Ross loved golf and baseball, and during the fall of 2009, he volunteered as an assistant baseball coach at Hobgood Park. He also worked as a lifeguard at BridgeMill for the past two summers since 2008. Ross’s mother, Debbie, recalls an especially eventful day at the pool. “A boy had hit his head on the diving board, requiring Ross’s immediate action. He pulled the boy out of the water and administered CPR. He was so excited that he had saved someone!” Helping people was the essence of Ross, according to Debbie and those that knew him. “While lifeguarding, Ross would take the time to play with the children during break, and he would help them overcome their fears such as going down the large water slide. He had quite a following with some of the boys proclaiming to be junior lifeguards, wearing the uniform of red swim shorts and whistles around their neck, just like Ross.”

Life changed as the Pischke family knew it on December 24, 2009. “My husband and I were stunned, to say the least,” recalled Debbie. “How were we going to go home and tell our son he had cancer?” But Ross took it all in stride when he was told. “After a moment of silence, Ross looked at us and said, ‘Let’s do what we’ve got to do.’” Ross was admitted to the hospital that Christmas Eve.

Ross’ journey was not easy. He underwent bone marrow aspirations, spinal taps and weekly chemotherapy treatments. Debbie and Ken marveled at how Ross never once complained and when she expressed the wish for this to be happening to her and not him, he said, “Mom, I wouldn’t want you to have to deal with this. This is my thing to beat. ” Throughout his entire and often painful journey, Ross continued to make people laugh.

Ross’s older brother Tyler was in the throes of Air Force Basic Training during Ross’s illness. At the time, Tyler said “Ross is my sole motivation. If he can fight cancer, I can get through basic training. Ross is my hero!” In March 2010, Debbie, Ken, and Ross had traveled to San Antonio to witness Tyler’s graduation from basic training. Unfortunately, Ross was in so much pain by the time the flight landed, he had to immediately go to the emergency room. This would be Ross’ last trip to a hospital. Within a few hours of being admitted, Ross passed away as a result of complications associated with his Leukemia.

Donate Now Grief engulfed the family, yet they witnessed an amazing outpouring of love and support for them and for the son so many knew and loved. “Everyday since the day he passed away, we receive Facebook messages, e-mails, text messages, and more about what an amazing person he was,” said Debbie and Ken. “He faced his illness with grace, strength and amazing dignity. We know he is now cured, pain-free, cancer-free and watching over all of us. It’s not the cure we were praying for, but hopefully other children will see the light at end of the tunnel due partly to the efforts of CURE.”


September 17th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Carolyn Hendrix

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 17, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Carolyn Hendrix. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Carolyn’s fund.

Carolyn Hendrix PhotoWhile on vacation with her family in May, Carolyn Hendrix began complaining of a stomach ache. The day after she returned home, her parents, Jeff and Kathryn Hendrix, took her to her pediatrician who, suspecting appendicitis, sent her for a CT scan. The scan revealed a cancerous tumor around her rib (11 and 12) and pushing against the liver and kidney. The tumor was later diagnosed as Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that occurs either in or around the bones.

Carolyn now has to have 3 months of chemo followed by tumor removal. Then another 6 months of chemo. Carolyn has been accepted into a trial for Ewing’s and is taking an extra chemo of Topotecan.

Ewings Sarcoma affects approximately 250 children and adolescents each year. Typically it is found more in males than females and in children who are between the ages of 5-20 years old. While Carolyn was fortunate that her cancer was discovered in stage 1, her treatment will require nine months of inpatient five-day chemotherapy every two weeks. She will have the tumor surgically removed one third of the way through her chemotherapy treatment plan.Donate Now


September 17th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Madison Reese Jones

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 17, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Madison Reese Jones. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Madison’s fund.

Madison Reese Jones is the 7 year old daughter of Chip and Michelle Jones of Douglas, GA. Madison has 3 sisters, Courtney Brooke Jones 24, Amanda Leigh Jones 23 and Jaci Abriana Jones (Madison’s older twin sister) 7.

Madison and her sisters have always been healthy, except for the occasional cold, ear ache or sinus infection… Until December 14, 2009 (the day before Madison and Jaci’s 4th birthday) when Madison was put in the hospital for abdominal/leg pain and elevated blood counts. Every time someone asked where she hurt, it was the same response: her belly button. Her doctor asked another doctor to do a consult and he suggested they do exploratory surgery to make sure her appendix had not ruptured. I was so scared for Madison, and our preacher had come by the hospital to check on our family. The OR nurses came in to take Madison into surgery and I asked that he pray for her. Once he was finished praying, the nurses were wheeling Madison and me on her hospital bed to the OR. The anesthesiologist was standing at the nurses station with the surgeon and I overheard him asking the surgeon if he had viewed all of Madison’s lab results. He said yes. Then he asked the surgeon again, to which he replied, “Yes, I have seen both sets of her labs!” The anesthesiologist replied, “There are THREE sets of labs on Madison, NOT two!!”

Madison JonesThe surgeon viewed Madison’s last set of labs, looked at me and said, “I can’t do surgery on her, she is bleeding inside somewhere.” Then he walked away. Before the nurses could get us back to Madison’s room, her doctor was on the phone with my husband, telling him that they were going to do a STAT CAT Scan of Madison’s abdomen with and without contrast and he would come to see us ASAP with the results. The test showed that Madison had an ileus (fecal impaction), so her doctor ordered some enemas for her, once the enemas started to work, her pain went away. Madison was released on Dec 15, 2009, on her birthday, just in time to go home and eat some cake with Jaci.

Madison’s follow-up visit was Dec 22, 2009. Her doctor was so happy about how “soft” her abdomen was. Things seemed to be back to “normal.” We were having Christmas dinner at my mom’s the same night. Madison was fine until we got home and her pain started all over again, just like the week before. I talked with my sister-in-law, a RN at our local hospital ER, and she suggested we try an enema, just to see if Madison could get some relief. We tried it and the enema did NOT help. It was a very long night until Madison’s doctors office opened and we were waiting there when they opened. By this time Madison was in so much pain and her poor little tummy was like a washboard, so rigid. Her doctor said I had two choices: 1. Go across the street to our ER and be transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, GA or 2. Go home, pack some bags and make arrangements for Jaci, then drive to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, GA. We decided to drive over to Savannah. Once we were there, we went in thru the ER and they did blood work. Of course Madison’s labs were “off the chart.” Madison was admitted to the hospital in Savannah on Dec 23, 2009. This is where our HELL began!

Madison would have all kinds of test run, MRI, CT scans, X-rays, ultra sounds… over and over. Then the doctors decided to do a bone marrow aspiration, to make sure they were not missing something. By now Madison is NOT walking and her pain is in her belly button and her thigh. Our Madi bug would cry when you tried to move her. Once the results started coming in, doctors found that Madison had Osteomyelitis in her right hip, NO cancer!! Madison had surgery for central line placement, and she was released on Dec 31, 2009. Madison had to have Rocephin and Vancomycin IV via her central line every 8 hours, then once a week the visiting nurses would come change her dressing and draw blood for labs. That was a JOB in itself; she hated having the dressing changed and labs drawn!

Madison, Jaci, Courtney, Amanda and our family had Christmas at our house on Jan 1, 2010. Madison was in and out of the hospital several times over the next three weeks, while still on her IV antibiotics. Her counts continued to be up and down, so the doctors finally decided to do a second bone marrow aspiration along with a bone marrow biopsy. She was put in the hospital on Jan 19, 2010 and she received one unit of packed red blood cells. Her bone marrow test were scheduled for the next day, Jan 20, 2010 at 11:00 am.

Madison was sedated for her bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. After the bone marrow test, we went back to her room to wait for the results. Her oncologist came back and gave us the news: her bone marrow results were positive for leukemia. We would know if she had ALL or AML the next day, Jan 21, 2010. Madison started her first phase of chemo on Jan 22, 2010. When Madison’s doctors told me that part of her treatment would be taking oral steroids, I was scared to death, because every time Madison and Jaci had to take oral steroids in the past it was a FIGHT!! So I looked at her doctor and asked if there was ANYTHING different that I could give her and he suggested pills, so by the Grace of GOD, our lil’ Madison could swallow pills. All I could say was Praise GOD!! Madison has been taking pills ever since. She is such a trooper and she is my Hero♥

Madison had her hair cut for the first time on Feb 11, 2010. Her daddy and I talked to her about her hair falling out because of her chemo and she asked if she could get her hair cut short before it fell out and of course we said Yes.

Madison had her central line removed and a port a cath placed on Feb 19, 2010. She was such a big girl, but as she was waking up in the recovery room, we noticed ALOT of hair on her pillow, on the way home she asked if we could stop by her favorite salon to get her head shaved and of course daddy and mommy did just that.

Madison has had several blood transfusions and many platelet transfusions also. Madison has been transported to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, GA by ambulance 6 times. One time was in Oct 2010 and at that time her temperature was 103.8 and her platelet count was 4. Normal range is 150 – 450 thousand/ul. Madison had petechiae bruising all over her body and blood blisters all in her mouth. She stayed in the hospital for 6 days this time; her doctors stopped all chemo until her counts came back up.

Madison started her maintenance phase of chemo in late Sept 2010. She continues to be in remission, Praise the LORD! She takes oral chemo daily and goes to clinic at Backus Children’s Hospital on the campus of Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah, GA every 4 weeks for IV chemo and labs.

In Jan 2011, Madison was able to go back to school at Coffee Pre-K Academy. She came home with an assignment to write down her New Year’s Resolutions for 2011. 1. Clean my room 2. Eat healthy 3. Listen to mommy and daddy 4. Tell people about childhood cancer 5. Take care of Charli

The reason I decide to talk to Lisa Aldridge about doing something in September 2011 to raise Awareness for CHILDHOOD CANCER was because of Madison’s New Year’s Resolution! I never dreamed that it would explode like it did, but wow that is AWESOME!

On Friday, April 1, 2011, at our local Relay for Life in Douglas, GA, Madison and Jaci found out that Madison’s Make-A-Wish trip was granted and that our family would be leaving on Saturday, April 9, 2011 for Disney World. I have never seen two little girls so happy. We had a great time at Give Kids the World, Disney, Universal Studios and Seaworld.

Madison has continued to have some ups and downs with her treatment, but she continues to be a strong little girl, much stronger than her mom! Madison’s LAST CHEMO was on April 20, 2012. She is currently Chemo and CANCER FREE! Her next check up with her oncologist is Sept 11, 2013. Please Pray for another great check up.

I never thought in a million years that one of my girls would be fighting this beast called CANCER, especially at 4 years old. I pray that CURE Childhood Cancer starts getting the funding that it needs to find a cure for this horrible disease. Every day 46 families hear these words in reference to their child: “It’s cancer.” And every day 7 families hold and kiss their child for the last time. In the next 24 hours those numbers will be repeated. And the 24 hours following that… they’ll be repeated again. And again… and again. Get the picture? We have got to Raise AWARENESS for CHILDHOOD CANCER. My goal for our hometown of Douglas, GA in September 2011 (and every September after) is to “Turn” our town GOLD in an effort to RAISE AWARENESS for CHILDHOOD CANCER and to help fund a CURE for our Kiddos!Donate Now


September 17th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Brenton Beshers

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 17, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Brenton Beshers. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Brenton’s fund.

Brenton Beshers PhotoBrenton S. Beshers was a great spirited, very strong young man. He loved life and his friends and family. He loved to play football and baseball. He was starting high school and couldn’t wait to be on the football team and they couldn’t wait to have him. Then came that dreaded day that he was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia on 8/12/11. That was the worst day of our lives, or so we thought. He went through several rounds of chemo before undergoing a bone marrow transplant in which his 7 year old sister was his match. He was cancer free until 10/30/12 when he relapsed and our world was turned upside down again.

The chemo they gave him didn’t work, it was not strong enough to kill this horrible disease. He then went to St. Jude for a trial study and to no avail that didn’t work either. Through the whole process he never once complained about treatments or test, and he never asked, “why me?” He was truly an inspiration to others. He always worried about everyone else, even when he would be in the hospital fighting for his own life. Brent, or as we call him “Brentspiration,” went to be with Jesus on 4/30/13. We will forever miss his giving heart and loving smile! He will always be with us and his many works of leading others to Christ will never be forgotten. We miss your beautiful bright eyes and we love you infinity!Donate Now


September 16th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Adria Williamson

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 16, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Adria Williamson. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Adria’s fund.

Christmas had come and gone. I was seventeen and my senior year had just started getting fun. On January 20, 2012, I was diagnosed with AML (leukemia). I remember hearing the news and my heart just dropped.

Adria Williamson PhotoI was transferred from Scottish Rite to Egleston the next day and started my first round of chemo four days later. Everything was happening so fast. I didn’t really have time to process it. I just cried for those first four days. When they told me I would lose my hair, I just wanted to give up. Then, my mom told me, “Adria, you either lose your hair or you lose your life.” Suddenly, losing my hair wasn’t that big of a deal.

My heart was broken when the doctors told me I wouldn’t finish my last round of chemo until July. That meant I would miss my senior year! When friends and family found out about my diagnoses they were very loving and encouraging. I coped with having to stay there a month at a time by using humor. My parents were perfectly fine with that. They knew if I woke up sassy then it was going to be a good day. I even convinced my dad into buying a nerf gun that was in the hospital gift shop. I shot my oncologist and my nurse practioner a few times with it. But the most use it got was from my dad who tried to aim it just right at the ceiling tiles to bounce down at hit my bald head.

I loved going outside to the garden and just sitting. That’s one of the places me and my mom would solve all the world’s problems. One of the hardest things being at Egleston was the amount of time I had to stay there. Sometimes, I would put my feet up on my pillow just for a different view. Second, was seeing all the kids much younger than me going through the same thing. At least I understood what was going on and that the doctors and nurses were trying to get me better. One of my good friends that I met at the hospital was a ten year old named Jessica Lee. One of the hardest things was watching her pass away. I graduated with my class in Carrollton, GA at Carrollton High School on May 18, 2012. That was a HUGE success for me! And I finally finished my last round of chemo and was officially in remission on July 7, 2012. So far so good!

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September 16th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Cordell Mclendon

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 16, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Cordell Mclendon. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Cordell’s fund.

Five year old Cordell Tavis McLendon, Jr. was a happy, healthy five year old – or so it seemed. November 17, 2011 started as a normal day, with everyone getting ready for school and work. That afternoon, while sitting in the family room watching the kids play, Cordell’s father noticed his stomach was getting bigger. Concerned, he took Cordell to Hugh Spalding Children’s Hospital where they ran tests and immediately sent them to the Aflac Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for further tests. Something was terribly wrong.

Cordell McLendon Photo 2I received a call from his father while at work, the doctor was asking to speak to me. I was terrified as I drove to the hospital, and once I arrived, the doctors explained that Cordell had something called Wilms Tumor, a cancerous tumor originating in the cells of the kidney. The tumor was covering his entire right kidney.

I was in total shock, feeling like someone had ripped my heart from my chest. Both his father and I broke down as our world turned upside down. The doctors assured us Cordell would be fine but all I could think of was his siblings and how they would react.

The doctors explained that since the tumor was covering Cordell’s entire right kidney, the kidney had to be removed in addition to the tumor. I felt breathless and kept asking myself “Why C.J.? Why my family?” Deep in my heart I knew I couldn’t question God, but I blamed myself and sometimes still do. I noticed earlier in the year his stomach didn’t look normal. It had grown just a little more than normal. I was just thinking it was from him eating so late in the day. But now I wonder how a mother can miss something like that. I ask myself that all the time, blaming myself for not knowing.

Surgery took place on November 23, 2011, the day before Thanksgiving. It was a success. Cordell was in pain for a couple of days but the pain subsided. He went through 18 weeks of chemotherapy after surgery and did very well through it all.

Now Cordell is doing well. He loves to ride his bike and play football with his dad. He still has to go to the clinic every other month to get checked and make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.

Donate Now Without the help from CURE I don’t know how my family and I would have made it. We are so grateful to CURE for always being there. Throughout this ordeal I have learned not to take life for granted. I have stopped complaining about the small things because life is so precious and you only live once. We met different families who were experiencing the same things as my family, but more life threatening. So giving God the almighty praise is number one in my life because he brought us through it all.


September 16th, 2013

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Elena and Olivia Tate

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 16, 2013 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kids Elena and Olivia Tate. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Elena and Olivia’s fund.

Our family has a date that changed our lives forever….not once, but twice. On April 6, 2004, our youngest daughter, Olivia, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Five years later on April 6, 2009 our daughter, Elena, was diagnosed with leukemia.

Elena and Olivia Tate Photo 1Spring Break 2004, we were at the beach. Olivia, then two, had been tilting her head to the side and stumbling while walking. We quickly grew more concerned when she began waking up in the middle of the night, holding the back of her head and vomiting. We found ourselves headed to the nearest emergency room. They performed a cat scan and we were told that our baby girl had a brain tumor. That is not an easy thing to hear. The walls seemed to close in on us. All we kept asking ourselves was what do we do now. Olivia was flown from Florida to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where she underwent a successful surgery to remove her tumor. It was then that we learned her tumor was a Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma. We were soon back home thanking God for all of the wonderful people He had put in our path and for getting us through this ordeal.

It was amazing how quickly Olivia recovered from major brain surgery with little side effects. Life as we knew it resumed. Surgery was the only treatment necessary for Olivia and we were ready to move on. Which we did. Over the next three years, Olivia had eight follow up MRIs that all showed no signs of a recurrent tumor. In July 2007, that changed. We were told that what was first thought to be scar tissue was actually a recurrent tumor. Here, three years later, the news wasn’t any easier to hear. Olivia’s neurosurgeon carefully watched the tumor and on June 6, 2008, he performed a second surgery on Olivia. All went well and today, five years and seven post-surgery MRI’s later, Olivia remains tumor free.

Spring Break 2009, we weren’t at the beach. Elena had been having severe back and leg pain. With our pediatrician’s guidance, we were trying to figure things out. While waiting at Scottish Rite for a scheduled MRI, the pediatrician called and said, “It is leukemia.”  Once again, simply stated words had drastically changed our lives. It felt like the world had stopped turning. We couldn’t process it. Three difficult months followed Elena’s release from the hospital. It was all so very different from our experience with Olivia. We couldn’t believe that after going to the Aflac Cancer Center with Olivia for five years, we would now be taking our other daughter there as well! Slowly, life slowly began to settle. Elena has completed numerous chemo visits, lumbar punctures, blood and platelet transfusions, emergency room visits, infections, and a life threatening hospital stay. On August 3, 2011, Elena completed her treatment for ALL. Unfortunately, her first battle was not a complete victory. Elena relapsed on February 24, 2012. Instead of enjoying the carefree days of last summer, Elena underwent nine intense days of chemo and radiation to prepare her body for a life-saving bone marrow transplant. She had her transplant on July 25, 2012. She has been through so much in her young life. She is a fighter and we are praying that her bone marrow transplant a year ago has given her a new life and complete healing from cancer.

While our girls’ treatment journeys were so very different, the anxiety and pain were the same. Today, both girls are beautiful examples of what it means to be a survivor. They both handle the stress and difficulties of their late term effects from treatment with perseverance and grace. Elena, now 14, and Olivia, now 11, are absolutely amazing! Although the past nine years have been challenging, we have been richly blessed with amazing support from our friends, family, church, and even strangers. Our lives have been forever changed, but God has been in the details and He continues to bless us each and every day.

Donate Now The battle for a cure continues. Every day children are fighting this horrible disease. The impact of cancer hurts everyone. It robs families of so many things: their joy, peace, time, health, finances, relationships, and even their own children. We can’t stop fighting until there is a cure. Please consider joining us in this fight!


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    HOLIDAY CARDS FOR CURE

    Purchase special CURE holiday cards and invitations from Paper Style and 20% of your purchase price will be donated to CURE. Fully customizable photo and non-photo cards are available. Click here to order.

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    SHOP AMAZON SMILE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

    Instead of shopping on Amazon, shop on Amazon Smile instead, and a percentage of any purchase will benefit CURE. Amazon Smile is identical to Amazon.com; you can even use your Prime account. Simply click here, set CURE Childhood Cancer as your charity of choice, and shop away.