Childhood cancer has played a big role in our family’s ongoing story.
And it helped mold our family into what it is today.
Not a day goes by that my husband and I don’t relish in the fact that we are one of the lucky families.
Our daughter was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was five years old.
She had started kindergarten two weeks prior to her diagnosis.
She would spend the next three years going through treatment and recovering from treatment.
If you looked at her now, you would never know what experiences she’s trudged through.
—oral chemo, iv chemo, chemo injected into her spinal fluid, lumbar punctures, spinal taps, chemo injected into her thighs, ICU stays, radiation to her brain, mysterious viruses, surgeries, allergic reactions to chemo, mysterious bacteria growing in her port, mouth sores, loss of the ability to walk properly, steroids, hair loss three times, extreme weight loss, fevers, higher fevers, a broken ankle—
It’s not an exaggeration to say that she’s a strong and resilient girl.
We lost our daughter for a time when she was ill.
She didn’t look like the little girl that we used to know.
We knew she was there and anxiously waited to see her again.
And one day, it happened.
Her face wasn’t swollen from years of oral steroids anymore.
And her hair had finally grown back.
There she was.
The girl that we had last seen as a 5 year old was presenting herself to us again.
She’s now a beautiful girl in middle school.
Who gets straight A’s on her report cards.
Who plays the piano and drums.
Who loves to read fantasy books.
And who doesn’t remember much about her time in treatment to save her life.
And her life was indeed saved, because she was so sick when we took her into the doctor that if we had waited a few more weeks…
Her outcome wouldn’t have been the same.
Our entire family’s outcome wouldn’t be what it is today.
Her journey with childhood cancer has inspired me to give back to the community that helped her.
My daughter and I worked with Illinois State Senator Andy Manar to raise money in Illinois for childhood cancer research through a license plate initiative.
We testified before the Illinois Transportation Committee and our idea was voted into law before being signed into law by then Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
We did a childhood cancer walk in Chicago and our team raised $10,000 for CureSearch.
My daughters and I are birthday fairies for The Confetti Foundation at the Springfield, IL hospital that saved her life.
And this is just the beginning for us.
We give back.
Because we got our daughter back…