Cure Childhood Cancer

CURE Blog


September 28th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Natalia Sofia

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

1142912_169151326282300

Natalia Sofia is a childhood cancer survivor. In August 2013, at the tender age of 8, she was diagnosed with localized Ewing’s Sarcoma of her femur bone.

In addition to surgery, she endured an intense chemotherapy for a year and radiation treatment every day for a month. Due to harsh treatments, she is still suffering from the side effects of her treatment.

By the grace of our MIGHTY GOD, she has overcome cancer and has been cancer free for 13 months!!! 

Donate Now


September 28th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Natalia Sofia

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

Natalia Sofia

Natalia Sofia is a childhood cancer survivor. In August 2013, at the tender age of 8, she was diagnosed with localized Ewing’s Sarcoma of her femur bone.

In addition to surgery, she endured an intense chemotherapy for a year and radiation treatment every day for a month. Due to harsh treatments, she is still suffering from the side effects of her treatment.

By the grace of our MIGHTY GOD, she has overcome cancer and has been cancer free for 13 months!!! 

Donate Now


September 28th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Owen

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

1142912_19815817437650

Backtracking from the beginning, on March 31st, Owen threw up shortly after going to bed, and several times throughout that night. Thinking we were dealing with a stomach bug of some sort, we just did the usual crackers and ginger ale. After several days of the same pattern (fine during the day, sick late at night and especially early in the morning) we took Owen to the doctor. At the appointment we were given the typical anti-nausea medication and sent away. The vomiting continued for two weeks, in spite of numerous trips to the clinic and ER, and all the home remedies you can think of. Not to mention that Owen has two brothers and two sisters – none of whom had become the slightest bit sick from this mysterious bug. On the 14th of April, Tommy and I returned to the hospital demanding further testing and answers.

Finally, an abdominal scan was completed, which ultimately showed the presence of tumor growth throughout his abdomen and spine.

This, of course, was not the point of a full diagnosis; in fact we were not even told the results of the scan until days later. But this 5-minute x-ray was the beginning of Owen’s journey with cancer, or at least a conscious journey.

Owen had become so dehydrated he could barely hold his head up from two weeks of vomiting and misdiagnosis; therefore we were transported to the Children’s hospital in Oklahoma City. The following morning, Owen had a seizure which prompted a CT and resulting in the discovery of what looked to be a large mass in his brain. An MRI was scheduled for that afternoon, and on the way down, Owen had a second seizure in the elevator rendering him unresponsive just over two minutes. Almost immediately an EVD was placed, and we spent the next few days in ICU.

Fast forward a few months, we now know Owen was vomiting because tumors were blocking the flow of fluid between the brain and spine, causing a build of pressure high enough to cause a life-threatening herniation of his brain stem. We know the type of tumor is PNET.

We know it’s far spread, and the odds are very much against us.

We know a lot, and we know nothing.

We know nothing that can stop this, we know nothing to blame for why this is happening in the first place, and we haven’t begun to know how we are going to guide our other children through this process while we are very much lost ourselves. 

Donate Now


September 28th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Robbie

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

Robbie Moore Photo

“Your child has cancer.” Fours words that parents never want to hear – Those four words which will impact your life and the lives of those around you forever. And yet, those four words, as much as you hate them, would not be the worst you would ever hear. Imagine the heartache of hearing your child sobbing and repeating, “I don’t want to die.” When you are in complete shock, how do you comfort them? What do you say? What do you do?

Our son, Robert “Robbie” Moore, was diagnosed with a tumor in the brain stem at age 15. He was experiencing some symptoms that I was down playing as a virus, vertigo, or the need for eye glasses. After all, he was a child that was rarely, if ever, sick. The only visits we ever had to the doctor were for swimmers ear. In the hot Georgia summers, he loved to play in the pool with his brother and cousins. Everyone always knew he was having a grand time, because you could hear his laughter a block away.

Robbie was a sweet, loving child who took great interest in racing go karts. Six months before his diagnosis, he had managed to save enough money to purchase his first kart and every spare minute of his time was spent working on his new hobby. We had never seen him have such a passion about anything. And we had never seen anyone have such heartbreak and disappointment at the fact that his passion would end before it ever got started.

Treatment options are not very effective for Glioblastoma Multiforme, a grade 4 astrocytoma which was located in the pontine area of Robbie’s brain. The tumor was located in a place so sensitive that biopsies were rarely performed and removal was impossible. Our neurosurgeon was confident that he could biopsy the tumor. He sent a sample off to pathology so that we would know exactly what we were dealing with and the best possible treatment option.

Little did we know, successful treatment options were very few, and our hopes would be in a clinical trial. One of the hardest decisions to make is one where no matter what you choose, the odds are still stacked against you. A lot of the information that was available to help us make our decision was based on adult trials.

After Robbie had his biopsy, his life changed completely. He went from attending school with his friends, to having teachers come to our home when he was feeling well enough to complete school work. He went from being able to walk, run, and race, to using a walker and then a wheelchair. He lost his independence and his ability to live the lifestyle that healthy teenagers should live.

His days were spent at home with family and many friends visiting him. The clinical trial was not successful, and shortly after he was withdrawn. He began to experience paralysis on the right side of his body. By his 16th birthday, he was unable to walk, yet his spirits were still high. He never complained or gave up the fight.

Several different chemotherapy drugs were used to try to control the beast that was robbing our precious child of his livelihood and his life. With every new drug that was tried, we had high hopes of this being the MIRACLE drug that would cure our son. After all, he still had so much living left to do.

The drugs were often hard on his body and caused swelling, weight gain, skin breakdown, nausea, hair loss, and rashes. There were many trips to the doctor and several to the hospital for overnight stays for rehydration. There were additional treatments for blood clots and home visits for physical therapy.

Two days before Thanksgiving, we got the results from an MRI that showed the chemo was no longer effective. The tumor had grown, and there were no more options available to him. “We’re sorry, there is nothing more we can offer,” ranks right up there with “Your child has cancer.” It causes as much heartache as when your child sobs, “I don’t want to die.”

Robbie, our precious teenage son, a handsome young man with brown hair, beautiful hazel eyes, and a heart of gold, touched the lives of people young and old. He was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, uncle, and friend who brought joy to others. He fought a courageous battle with a beast that medicine couldn’t cure. We cried, we laughed, we prayed, we talked…and yet all of that time we spent together was never enough…never enough for those of us who loved him dearly and would give anything to have just one more day with him.

After a 13 month battle, Robbie crossed the finish line. Taking the checkered flag as he raced his way into heaven. He will live forever in our hearts.

While on this journey, we have met or read of many other children battling cancer. It is our wish that one day, no other parent who has a child with cancer will ever have to hear the words “We’re sorry, this is nothing more we can offer.” We are happy to be teamed up with CURE to raise funds to find a cure for childhood cancer. 

Donate Now


September 28th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Sam

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

1142912_1915754491552

Sam is a very special 8 year old. After receiving regular 4yr old shots and a flu shot, a fever set in and continued on for several days. After seeing the doctor twice, the third time Sam was admitted to the hospital for a bone marrow test.

He was diagnosed in November 2011 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He started chemo Friday morning November 11, 2011. His port was also implanted below his collar bone in November.

Sam has had a handful of blood transfusions in the past 3 years. Sam has been through a lot, from losing all his hair, losing and gaining weight constantly, having numerous spinal taps, going through the difficult challenge of learning and taking chemo pills every night (that was a hard battle), being told that he can’t go outside to play, missing school, to avoiding certain foods when his immune system was low.

Through it all Sam has been an inspiration to all of us. In 2012 a local artist, Morgan Webb, painted Sam in a mural in the new remodeled wing in outpatient at Memorial Hospital. When he went to outpatient for his blood work, he was surprised to see himself in the mural. WOW! What an amazing feeling that brought us all to tears. We were so overjoyed to see how much of an inspiration Sam was to our community.

It is now August of 2015, and Sam is a survivor. He has been off treatment for almost one year. Sam will continue to visit the outpatient clinic for periodic blood work. He hasn’t stopped being our little hero! 

Donate Now


September 28th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Team Thomasville

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

1142912_258151057235263

Team Thomasville 2015

CURE Kids Conquer Cancer

It’s amazing how oblivious you can be to the things that are affecting your community and the people that live next door to you, until you are faced with the reality of it yourself. Everyone knows that when they start to see the pink ribbons, Breast Cancer Awareness month is approaching. It does not take much thought; it is common knowledge that the month of October and the color pink is a reminder to get your “ta-tas” checked. But how many people know what the gold ribbons represent? It was not until my daughter was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, stage four brain cancer, that I was introduced to the world of chemotherapy, radiation and many sleepless days and nights. Truth be told, I had never met a child that was affected by childhood cancer. How could I have been in the dark about this life altering illness that affects thousands of kids each year?

According to Cureseach.org, every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer. Of those 43 children diagnosed, 12% do not survive. Childhood cancer does not discriminate against gender, soci-economic status or race. More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year and the average child is diagnosed at the age of six. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta website reports that more than 400 of the 12,500 children diagnosed with cancer in the United States can be found here in the state of Georgia. But the most important statistic I believe is the amount of money that is contributed to help battle childhood cancer. Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded. Research and development for new drugs from pharmaceutical companies comprises 60% of funding for adult cancer drugs and close to zero for childhood cancers. However, the National Cancer Institute spends 96% of its budget on adult cancers and only 4% of its budget on children’s cancers. In dollar terms, National Cancer Institute’s funding for pediatric clinical trials is $26.4 million while funding for AIDS research is $254 million, and breast cancer is $584 million (icareicure.org, 2015).

It is because of the statistics referenced above that our efforts in the small, rural community of Thomasville, Georgia are so important. Every year, families of children affected by childhood cancer rally together in a joint effort to raise monies as well as awareness for this worthy cause. We paint the community gold with bows in an effort to bring attention to this life altering disease that unexpectedly steals the childhood and innocence of many. In an effort to support organizations like CURE, we not only sell gold bows, but we also organize a community car wash, sell baked goods and lemonade. We have a two-fold mission with our efforts and they are to raise funds and raise awareness. It is our hopes that many will see our efforts and join in our rally to help find a cure for childhood cancer.

Written by: Jailah Armstrong’s mom, Vakesha Gordon

Donate Now


September 27th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Melissa

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

Melissa Strong

From the moment Melissa was born, she had a tremendous love for life. Armed with a contagious smile – always dancing and singing – Melissa offered more inspiration in her three short years on this earth than most do in their entire lives.

After being diagnosed with AML when she was only two years old, Melissa’s family was in a state of shock. Their daughter was happy, healthy, and there was no history of cancer in their family. “How could this happen to us” they asked. A normal family, life was good, and now they are in for the fight of their lives.

Melissa immediately began five rounds of intense chemotherapy. Doctors told her family that Melissa would most likely remain in bed, nauseated, unable to move for weeks. Her family was prepared for the worst. But not Melissa! Time after time, Melissa would receive a dose of very serious chemotherapy and five minutes later would be atop her bike, riding through the hallways of the hospital, singing and dancing. She wasn’t worried one bit! From playing in the playroom with other kids with cancer to playing with therapy dogs to playing Bingo with her nurses, Melissa loved life. But after initially being cleared, Melissa relapsed. And required a bone marrow transplant. As doctors begin to treat the relapsed leukemia, her family received heartbreaking news. Melissa’s leukemia was unresponsive to chemotherapy.

Despite Melissa’s hardships, even in spite of hospital treatments and intense chemotherapy and pain, she never stopped smiling. Never stopped dancing. And while Melissa passed peacefully in her parents’ arms, one year after her diagnosis, they believe her life served a much larger purpose. Anyone who came in contact with Melissa learned an important life lesson: life is temporary. It’s not the quantity of years of life that matter, but the quality of life and impact you make on the world. That’s why Melissa’s family has set out on a mission: to fight for other children like Melissa.

As of August 30, 2015, the Melissa Strong Fund has raised $22,246 for to support childhood cancer research. 

Donate Now


September 27th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Audrey

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

1142912_19815810522665

On July 16, 2010, our lives changed forever. Doctors told us our daughter had a mass on her right ovary. They felt certain the mass was benign. Dr. Woods and his PA entered our Aflac cancer room at Scottish Rite carrying chairs and books. I felt my heart sink. Doctors don’t bring their own chairs when they tell parents the mass is benign. Instead they told us that Audrey had a form of pediatric ovarian cancer called Ovarian Germ Cell Tumor. Our nightmare was just beginning. Hours earlier, her surgeon had removed a three-pound tumor and discovered the terrifying diagnosis. She would need to have a port placed, which would immediately be followed by four rounds of combination chemotherapy–a brutal cocktail that caused my eight year old to vomit several times a day for days on end. She was so sick there were times she couldn’t even turn her head to greet visitors. In the wake of her pain, I found myself feeling helpless and alone.

After her first four rounds, A CT scan revealed a new hurdle. We were originally told Audrey had Stage 1 cancer, but because her tumor was so large, it had actually obscured the CT’s view of her lymph nodes. So while we were partying and celebrating at an end-of-chemo hospital party, doctors were preparing to call us with this unsettling news. (When an oncologist calls at 9:00 PM on a weekend, it’s never a good sign.) We were told Audrey would need even more chemo, as cancer in her lymph nodes indicated Stage 3 Cancer. My heart pounded as I listened to the doctor. “She will need more rounds of chemo, and she will need a PET scan using a radioactive tracer to look for cancer in her other organs.” BIOHAZARD, listed in BOLD RED LETTERS, was written over every bag of chemo being pumped through my little girl’s body. And now a RADIOACTIVE tracer was going to be pumped through it, as well? The doctor’s words cut like knives through my already bleeding heart. I couldn’t imagine the prospect of facing even more chemo, more vomiting, more fatigue, more sickness, and I couldn’t even allow my mind to entertain the thought of cancer being in a vital organ. Vital = Life. My husband and I let those words sink in. The next morning, we told our baby girl to get ready to be brave – again.

Audrey completed the extra rounds of chemo, and the PET scan revealed no cancer in her vital organs! While we know we dodged a bullet, our hearts ache for the thousands of families each year who do not get this news. Over the past five years, we have attended eleven funerals of friends who were in treatment the same time as Audrey. The words, “Your child has cancer,” are some of the most frightening words in the English language. But even worse are the words, “There are no more options.” I have shed tears with crying moms whose children have been given a zero percent chance of survival. How can they ever come to grips with the reality of losing a child they adore? In the last 30 years, only THREE new chemotherapies have been released that specifically target children’s cancers. In a world where information is communicated and shared instantly via email or messenger, the children’s scientific cancer community is progressing like they’re the Pony Express.

Sadly, every school day 46 children are diagnosed with cancer and another seven lose their fight against the beast. The chances of you winning the lottery are 1 in 175 MILLION. The chances of your child getting cancer are 1 in 285. We need your help! 

Donate Now


September 27th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Olivia

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

1142912_1981588424428

Three years ago, Olivia’s battle against Hepatoblastoma ended as she became an angel. On August 21, 2012, she took her last breath in her mommy’s arms after a long 28 month battle against childhood cancer. She fought long and hard, always doing continuous chemos. Many different kind of chemos, trying to find the perfect one that would work for her. Unfortunately in the end, none did enough to save her life.

Olivia was age 4 when she was diagnosed with the rare cancer called Hepatoblastoma on April 9, 2010. That is childhood cancer of the liver.

Olivia’s biggest tumor was baseball sized and in the middle of her liver, all wrapped in her portal vein making her a resection failure, without even getting to try. There were also 2 smaller tumors noted and her AFP was 577K at diagnosis. She was denied a liver transplant because she was also a child with special needs.

On April 9, 2010 she got her IV port-a-cath and began her first chemo therapies later that same day. She used many chemo drugs; Vincristine, FU-5, Doxorubicin, Cisplatin, Carboplatin, Irinotecan, Celebrax, Thalidomide, and Avastin. Always at least one of them, if not multiples at the same time, for the entire 28 months she fought cancer.

Olivia even tried an experimental procedure performed by the adult oncologists at Emory Hospital. They came over to Egleston and did chemo-embolization on her. That is where they inject the chemo directly INTO the tumors versus it going through veins and entire body. They had never done this on a child before and Olivia was the first! She was happy to be a pioneer in potentially helping other children down the line. The first embolization seemed to work a bit. We followed up with a 2nd embolization 2 months later. Unfortunately this one wasn’t successful for Olivia. One tumor turned into several and her numbers kept rising.

In early August it was beginning to be evident that Olivia’s body was getting tired of fighting cancer. For no apparent reason her body wouldn’t keep her hemoglobin or platelets in normal ranges so she needed multiple blood and platelet transfusions. She wasn’t ever able to start the new chemo called Xeloda like we had planned because her numbers wouldn’t stabilize. Instead we had to make the gut wrenching decision to sign on with hospice and 3 weeks later she was gone. No parent should have to make that decision.

We must remember that children are NOT just tiny adults. Their chemistry makeup is just molecularly different. We need treatments that are tested and made for children, not just some small percentage of an adult drug. Olivia is proof of this. She needed therapies designed for children.

She became an angel far too soon for our liking. She had just celebrated her 7th birthday in Rockstar style! We needed much more time with her. She was our best 7 years. We want her story to “Liv” on forever. She leaves behind a mommy, daddy and brother with empty arms and aching hearts.

Cancer Sucks, Livi Rocks! Forever 7, our sweet girl. 

Donate Now


September 27th, 2015

CURE Childhood Cancer Honors Lucas

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

1142912_258151124415562

August 19, 1998, was the day we welcomed a healthy 7 pound baby boy into our family. Lucas joined a sister, Britta, and life was great. Lucas was a spitfire. He never sat still and was a dare devil from day one. In June of 2000, we started noticing a change in Lucas. The active little boy had changed overnight. He started sleeping 12 and 14 hours a day and would not eat. Little did we know what major changes were coming our way.

August 28, 2000 was the day. The day I will never forget, as I sat in the doctor’s office and heard the news. Lucas has cancer. What a punch in the gut. Lucas had ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Lucas took the news and treatment to come easier than we did. He had a few set-backs and on February 19, 2003, Lucas was given a clean bill of health. In March of 2010, Lucas was considered cured.

Other than some minor side effects, Lucas was great. He played baseball 6 days a week and was even in the state championships in July of 2010. Then BAM. A broken growth plate put the game on hold for him. But the news we received on July 26, 2010 was even worse. Lucas relapsed. He had the same thing as he had before, and the best treatment for him would be a related bone marrow transplant.

Unfortunately, his full-blooded sister was not a match and treatment would again be 3 years long. This time, the treatment was more severe and Lucas did not do as well as before. He had reactions to the drugs and one night in December his heart stopped, and I sat and watched as they put paddles on my son’s chest to bring him back to me. He did survive and on February 19, 2013, Lucas was again cancer free.

There are many side effects that go along with taking Chemo. Everyday can be a battle and as of today Lucas is in another battle. He is currently having to return to his oncologist a month early due to some health issue. We do not know what the outcome will be but we still keep our faith and believe that no matter what it is, Lucas will overcome this as well.

Donate Now


  • Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 1.41.08 PM

    ANNUAL REPORT

    CURE’s latest annual report has arrived. Click here to read the full report of our year’s progress, including inspirational stories of some of the families CURE has supported.

  • 10685465_365729486923848_8669766135460510498_n-300x218

    SISTERS ON A JOURNEY

    Purchase a table now for the special Sisters on a Journey dinner, program and auction, benefiting Catie’s Fund of CURE Childhood Cancer. 2016 will host three dinners in Savannah (2/20), Effingham (3/19) and Statesboro (4/16). To purchase tickets, contact Mandy Garola at mandy@curechildhoodcancer.org.