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Gold Ribbon Hero: Kelsie

Tag Archives: childhood cancer

 

Meet Kelsie, a forever 17 year old glioblastoma warrior.

After battling months of nonstop headaches and losing peripheral vision in her right eye, Kelsie underwent surgery to remove an egg-sized glioblastoma in her left occipital lobe. After recovering from surgery she went through 30 days of radiation and chemo, followed by a year long course of chemotherapy. Kelsie thrived during the time after treatment. She was actively involved in her school, community and church. She participated as a cheerleader and majorette for her high school, was involved in missions, and loved music and singing.

Kelsie went 18 months off-therapy with no evidence of disease. In January 2018, Kelsie had a seizure and after a scan found multiple inoperable recurrent tumors she was put into a clinical trial. Kelsie started the HSV G207 clinical trial at Children’s of Alabama followed by 25 rounds of radiation but it was simply not enough to keep up with the aggressive nature of the disease.

Kelsie’s mom, Tracey, remembers her by saying, “Kelsie lived her life to the fullest. She never let her diagnosis discourage her. She kept a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She never stopped striving for success in everything she did. Whether it be school work, mission work, cheerleading, band…you name it. She even tried out for varsity cheer just one month after undergoing surgery, and of course made the squad. She was determined. She was always more concerned with other people being okay rather than herself. She never let you know anything was wrong with her. She wanted more than anything for life to just be normal. Kelsie loved the people in her life BIG and with all she had. Her life made such a huge impact on everyone that knew her. Cancer can take many things from us, but it can never take the love and the legacy our loved ones leave behind.”

Learn more about Glioblastoma here: https://www.acco.org/blog/childhood-brain-tumors-staging-and-prognosis-factors/

Follow Kelsie’s Hope on Facebook: @LifeOfEucharisteo

 

Together, we can make a difference.

Donate today… because kids can’t fight cancer alone®.

NOMINATE GRH
Donate to ACCO

Meet Noah, a 5 year old ALL warrior. Noah plans to attend the University of Tennessee when he grows up to learn how to be Spiderman. He loves jiu-jitsu, soccer and t-ball.

The following is a story told by Noah’s mother, Martha.

“On June 27th, 2018, our three and a half-year-old son, Noah, began falling and complaining of pain in his left leg. He also was having severe stomach pain and labored breathing, so we went to our pediatrician’s office and were placed on prednisone. Three days later, we went to the ER and were admitted for testing and observation. I asked the ER doctor if Noah could have some form of cancer and since all of Noah’s tests and labs came back normal, she “promised” me Noah did not have any type of cancer. Unbeknown to us, the steroids had falsified his labs. For the next four weeks, we were back and forth at different doctors trying to figure out why Noah continued to have difficulty walking, labored breathing, severe abdominal pain, intermittent fevers, nose bleeds, and the need to sleep all the time. One Sunday afternoon, as Noah was once again with a low-grade fever and wanting to nap, I asked him what was wrong, and he responded with, “Mommy, I am very sick. You have to help me.”

Finally, Noah’s second GI panel came back abnormal, showing that he had bacterial overgrowth. This led us to a GI specialist who ran blood work on baby Noah. The next day, July 24th, 2018, our GI specialist called and said all of Noah’s labs were abnormal. She said there was no way his labs could be this abnormal and that she thought the test was skewed. I asked her if he could have some form of cancer, and she said, “If these labs are correct, then I am very concerned for his health.” She sent us to the ER to be retested. Before I called my husband at work, I looked up every abnormal lab that she had mentioned. His platelets were at 9,000, his neutrophils were at zero, and his white and red blood cell count was low. Every abnormal lab I looked up said, “leukemia.”

That night, in the ER, as we waited for our results, we heard the doctor outside the door take a deep breath and say “ok” as he opened our door. Before he could even speak, we asked him if Noah had leukemia, and he said everything was pointing in that direction. He said it could still be a virus, but that a hematologist would be down to see us. Twenty minutes later, Dr. Spiller came into our room. We asked her what kind of leukemia Noah had, and she said it appeared he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Everything was confirmed the next day, July 25th, at 3:00 pm.

We began grieving for the loss of our healthy child and began coping with now having a child with cancer. At first we were in shock and afraid, then we became sad, angry and anxious, and finally, we became numb and accepted the fact this was our new normal.

We never realized how hard our journey with leukemia would be. We were in shock to know our baby had leukemia and then devastated when he became high risk to relapse due to an elevated MRD on day 8. Noah had instant complications. From hypertension to tachycardia, to a pericardial effusion, and a staph infection in which his port was removed, and a PICC line was placed, everything was spiraling out of control. Noah even reacted to the plasma in the platelets which landed him in PICU. Noah’s journey was difficult from the beginning. He ended up losing 15% of his body weight on steroids and needed a feeding tube for three and a half months. He also developed severe neuropathy in which Noah was bedridden and could only move his eyes. He was unable to walk for two and a half months. At one point, he was the sickest child on the oncology floor and one of the hematologists called him the “mystery ALL child.” If it could happen, it was happening to Noah. Every day was a new crisis.

With a total of seventy-three nights spent at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, 13 blood and platelet transfusions and one IVIG, four new ports, and multiple dangerous reactions to several chemos, we are still in remission and in the maintenance phase of treatment. We are now doing well and will finish chemo on 11/1/2021.

Although there have been many difficult days, we turned our negatives into a positive by creating the #NoahNation Foundation via the ACCO’s Founding Hope program. Being inpatient so much, we saw a need for medically adapted pajamas. Kids undergoing chemo needed special pajamas that have easy access to their ports, tubes, and drains. We saw kids fighting cancer in dress shirts because the button down tops allowed for this easy access and Noah was always fighting in a Pull-up.

As a result, “The #NoahNation Foundation” was formed to create warrior and warrior princess medically adapted pajamas. Pajamas are altered using Velcro’s, snaps, and plastic zippers so that children can fight cancer in comfort. These pajamas are metal-free so that the children can have tests done while in these pajamas. Our goal is to bring dignity and comfort to all cancer kids undergoing treatment. As of today, over 400 pairs of medically adapted pajamas have been gifted to children battling cancer.”

The #NoahNation Foundation is one of ACCO’s Founding Hopes who work to help serve their community by providing pajamas adapted for kids with cancer. Follow Noah’s story on Facebook @SavingBabyNoahfromBCellALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about ALL: https://www.acco.org/blog/about-childhood-leukemia-detection-and-diagnosis-2/

Together, we can make a difference.

Donate today… because kids can’t fight cancer alone®.

NOMINATE GRH
Donate to ACCO

Meet Damon, a childhood cancer advocate and forever 13 year old. The day that Damon was diagnosed, he heard the song, “Happy” by Pharrell while in the ER with his mother Lisa. His father Brian suggested that he make it their theme song and make every day “happy” which helped Damon be positive every day.

Brian’s radio background afforded him the opportunity to reach out to Pharrell’s recording company where he requested an autograph. Pharrell did something much more exciting; he recorded a video for Damon which proved to be a lasting memento in his life. Pharrell’s message conveyed positivity and to treat every day as a gift. Watch Pharrell’s video here:

One night while in surgery, Brian watched the video several times and allowed it to speak to him. When Damon woke up, Brian showed Damon the video and told him to watch it until he got the message. The video challenged the Billeck family to live in the moment, cherish the gift of today and Damon started having fun. He loved having fun with his family and could often be found making videos with them in WalMart.

Damon’s spirit was infectious. Damon was able to meet Buddy and the staff at Carlo’s Bakery to take a tour and learn more about the company. He made such an impression on Buddy and the staff that he was invited to Buddy’s bakery and restaurant opening in San Antonio, Texas. He was even able to collaborate with Jumo Health to create a comic book titled Understanding Osteosarcoma. Read his comic by clicking the picture below.

During his fight, Damon was able to overcome many challenges including a limb amputation and a relapse. His strength and humor helped him to get through the tough times. Damon wanted to help other kids with cancer at University Hospital by securing a bell for them to ring when they complete chemotherapy or they were declared N.E.D. – No Evidence of Disease. Damon was able to make friends with the San Antonio Fire Department and Chief Hood who made his dream happen. The bell is aptly named “Damon’s Victory Bell” which helps to celebrate an end to cancer and memorialize firefighters who passed to occupational cancer. Appropriately enough, Damon was able to ring his own bell at the age of 12! 

Texas lawmakers invited Damon to the Capitol where he became Governor for the Day. His proclamation as newly appointed Governor was to declare October 6, 2016, “Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day.”  

On January 3, 2017, Damon learned that his cancer had returned. By this time, Damon had tried all procedures and protocols to kill the cancer and the only treatments left would be trial medications. A few months prior, his parents had a conversation with Damon talking about the prospect of cancer returning. “If it comes back, we will turn you into a guinea pig, get you a nametag and call you Bugsy (from Bedtime Stories)!” they said, jokingly. In the Billeck family, humor helped them cope with his prognosis. Damon looked at his parents and said, “well, I guess y’all need to get me that nametag now.” Damon’s perspective on his prognosis was, “I can do this all day!” Brian was so inspired that he decided to tweet Chris Evans, star of Captain America. Evans retweeted the post about Damon and his story went viral. From then on, Damon and Chris kept in touch. Despite his prognosis, Damon continued to raise awareness for childhood cancer. He was the Ambassador for ACCO in 2016 & 2017 and attended the PJammin® for Kids with Cancer event at Microsoft in San Antonio & Austin, Texas. Check out his appearance here: 

Damon fought a long and hard battle with osteosarcoma and passed away on April 3, 2018. His legacy lives on and he continues to help raise awareness for childhood cancer. When Damon was 12, he wrote a letter to cancer, illustrating what it took away and what it taught him. It’s a lasting impression on how children fight and deal with cancer. Read his letter here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa and Brian have become instrumental in the childhood cancer fight and they continue to advocate for kids with cancer. In early 2019, Brian joined hundreds of advocates at the Texas State Capitol to advocate for continued funding of $3 billion in cancer research funds as part of the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Damon’s parents and family continue to advocate and have big plans to help in the fight against childhood cancer. 


Follow Brian on Twitter or Instagram @happy2badad or on Facebook at @teamdamonbenefit/

Read Damon’s original Gold Ribbon Hero story here: https://www.acco.org/blog/golden-ribbon-hero-damons-story/

You can take action in your own state by learning more here.

Learn more about the types of sarcomas and read more stories here during our Sarcoma Awareness Month feature.

Meet Will, a forever 11 year old childhood cancer hero.

At three years old, Will was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. He immediately started chemotherapy when it was discovered that he had Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS). This syndrome causes a mutation of the TP-53 gene which results in a susceptibility of several cancers. Since being diagnosed with LFS, Will underwent full body scans each year. 

For four and a half years, Will was considered to have no evidence of disease(NED). In April 2018, doctors found a tumor on his left pelvic bone and began treatment for osteosarcoma. Will endured chemotherapy and surgery on his pelvic bone. The team resected a large portion of his hip bone. After his surgery, he was declared NED in February 2019. For seven months, Will remained NED until a scan in August 2019 revealed osteosarcoma in his right hip bone. Hip replacement was necessary and this time, unfortunately chemotherapy was not an option. 

Will was a fierce competitor in basketball and baseball and loved playing video games with his friends. He loved the color blue because it represented many of his favorite professional teams including the New York Giants, New York Yankees and the New York Rangers. 

Will was determined to not let cancer get him down. Despite his diagnosis, he continued to brighten up every room he entered and giggle helping his family and friends feel at ease. On June 2, 2020, Will passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones, after a courageous battle with pediatric cancer. According to Judy Shields, Will’s grandmother, “he was certainly a gift to the world! He taught us all how to fight and stay strong right to the end. Smart as a whip with a smile to light up a room. We will miss him forever.” 

 

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Meet Eva, a forever 7 year old medulloblastoma warrior. Eva was a girly girl who always had her nails painted, loved playing with her brother Paddy and lived for ‘smuddles,’ a hug and squeeze from the ones she loved.

Eva was co-raised by her aunt, Tracy and her grandmother, Geraldine along with Tracy’s husband, Alan and brother, Paddy. 

When Eva started to become agitated and lose her appetite, her family took note. When her uncle got married, Eva was very quiet which was very uncharacteristic of her normal sassy self.  Two weeks later, Eva experienced a seizure while drinking milk. The seizure caused her to be unaware of her surroundings or her family in the room. When Geraldine called the doctor, they suggested just giving her an over the counter ear infection medication and said if things progressed to take her to the ER. Thankfully, they were able to fit her in on the same day and checked her ears. Eva was sent home with pain relief medicine.Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 8.30.24 AM

Days before she was diagnosed, Eva started walking funny around the house and complaining of neck pain. She started demonstrating a head tilt and after many months of complaints and doctors visits, Tracy took matters into her own hands. After Eva had another seizure, Tracy took Eva back to the office and demanded to see a different doctor.  This time, the doctor looked into Eva’s eyes and knew something was wrong. She excused herself from the room and called the emergency room to tell them she had a patient coming down with either a viral brain infection or medulloblastoma. The doctor noticed a very heavy buildup of fluid behind her eyes which was alarming. When the doctor came back into the room, she told the family she suspected it was a viral brain infection and that she needed an intravenous antibiotic. The doctor sent Eva in for an MRI and on October 3, 2012, Eva was diagnosed with stage 4 anaplastic medulloblastoma.

At the time of diagnosis, the doctors said they found a “mass” on Eva’s brain. The thought of “cancer” never entered Tracy’s brain and she thought it was benign. “They told us there was a mass on her brain. And you know what’s really funny about that time is when they said there was a mass on her brain, I still didn’t think it was cancer. I genuinely didn’t even know that children get cancer, isn’t that ridiculous?”

Five days after diagnosis, Eva had brain surgery to remove the golf ball size tumor. During her surgery, doctors noticed that the tumor had spread around her head and down her spine which they couldn’t touch. She was considered to be stage four at that time and was given a 30% chance of survival. During her 12 hour operation, Eva needed a blood transfusion and was watched a few days afterwards to see if she needed a shunt placed. Unfortunately she developed an infection in her brain and recovered quickly.Eva 2012 Pose

Eva was the second child in Ireland to receive the Milan protocol for the aggressive treatment of medulloblastoma. From reports, it was promised to give great results. She received a total of 12 months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiotherapy twice daily and two stem cell transplants. As a result of treatment, she had nerve damage that would ultimately confine Eva to a wheelchair.

In June 2013, active treatment was complete and Eva was considered to have no evidence of disease. The next month however, Eva started to fall for no reason. Tracy called the oncologist who brought her in for another MRI. Another mass was found on her brain but not in the same spot. They found three particles but doctors did not think it was cancer. By October of 2013, Eva was unable to walk. She had lost all function and reverted into a baby. She had no control over her body, wore diapers and could not feed herself. Eva was still mentally and intellectually a four year old but unable to control her body.Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 2.42.43 PM

When Eva lost her hair she looked at Tracy, gasped and said “look Trace, can you put that back in?!” Tracy took the hair and hid it behind her back and told her a “tall tale” about how some boys and girls hair go on a special adventure and that Eva’s hair is going on an adventure of its own which sparked an idea in Tracy. From then on, she’d tell Eva silly tales of adventures that “Hair” would go on, which became a character in their household.

Eva’s dream was to meet a princess, specifically Cinderella and for her Make-a-Wish, she was able to meet Cinderella in Disneyland in Paris. When she finally met Cinderella, Eva was completely speechless and in “awe” of her. That evening, the family was even able to have a dinner with Cinderella.

After missing so much school, Tracy decided to send Eva to a specialized school which would help with inhouse physical and occupational therapy among other specialized treatments. The school was almost 60 miles away but Eva loved it. She enjoyed the bus ride and would tell  her family about her adventures every day. She would get her aide to help her play pranks on the principal and give silly nicknames to the bus driver.IMG_9749

Eva was put into a program at Stoke Mandeville hospital which helped her spine and brain. The family changed their life completely by changing their eating habits and supporting her immune system with the most natural ingredients. She seemed to be making good progress and even learned to feed herself again. At this time, Eva was even able to stand for 20 minutes with a standing frame.

In October 2015, Eva had seemed agitated again and by the end of October she complained of a sore neck again. She would cry at the drop of a hat and did not seem like she was in a good place. At her next doctor’s appointment, Tracy told the oncologist about her neck pain and was encouraged to wait for an upcoming MRI. Eva’s family was already aware that if she had a relapse that there was no more treatment available to her and if the treatment didn’t work, the options were to participate in a trial or to simply do nothing.

“In that entire three year period this was the only appointment I could not go to. I could not hear what the guy would say, so I sent my husband. I knew in my gut that something was wrong. I texted my husband throughout the day asking for updates. Now looking back, it was a coy way of saying nothing, but to me – it looked like hope and I took it. He responded with ‘all was well, the doctor wanted to see her again and we are on our way home’ and I didn’t think anything of it” said Tracy.

The oncologist said that there was a new trial that had existed however he felt that Eva had enough treatment and suggested morphine. Heartbroken, Tracy and her family decided to bring Eva home and keep her out of school in the middle of November. Unfortunately, Eva gained her angel wings in November of 2015.

IMG_9801Eva’s legacy lives on in the series, “Eva’s Adventures,” which is Tracy’s passion project. She wanted her legacy of helping people to live on and has gone on to open up a charity of her very own and a park which features a “smuddle” park bench. They have held various fundraisers which has enabled the family to donate funds to other families in need and for cancer research in Ireland.

It should be noted that in late 2014 the oncologist that initially introduced Eva into the Milan protocol presented Eva’s case at a conference.  He met several other doctors that had the same experiences with the treatment. Since then, the Milan protocol is not being utilized in Ireland. 

Follow Eva’s Adventures and Tracy on social media below.

Learn more about Medulloblastoma by clicking here.


 

Together, we can make a difference.

Donate today… because kids can’t fight cancer alone®.

NOMINATE GRH
Donate to ACCO

88CE48A0-EC1C-4ACB-A1D8-B39B650E6846Meet Pryce, a soon to be 5 year old, cancer warrior. He loves legos, coloring and of course, his brothers and sisters.

ACCO was lucky enough to meet Pryce and his family last year after engagement on social media. Pryce’s fun personality and funny pictures compelled us to reach out. Pryce is the youngest of five children and spunky to say the least!

Leading up to Pryce’s diagnosis, he had low grade fevers and leg and hip pain. Pryce’s mom, Katie remembers, “we were blindsided. Cancer was not even on our radar.” The doctor’s continued to run tests for a few days and Katie remembers the concern on their faces. He was diagnosed in August of 2018 with stage 4 neuroblastoma.

35E78147-9C0F-428D-94DD-5CDD3612041CTreatment for Pryce included 10 rounds of chemotherapy and 8 rounds of immunotherapy. He went through 12 rounds of radiation, 2 stem cell transplants and multiple surgeries. During the last stage of treatment, the doctors found that his cancer had spread to his brain. On January 29, 2020 Pryce underwent emergency brain surgery. The doctors removed a golf ball size tumor, followed by intense treatment. Since January, Pryce has received 3 rounds of chemotherapy and 12 rounds of radiation to his brain and spine.

52993938_834166273604036_6427088640551157760_oThe next phase of Pryce’s treatment will be in New York, however it has been put on hold due to the coronavirus. Currently, he is undergoing extra rounds of chemo to keep the disease stable until it is safe to travel. His next brain surgery will be to place an Ommaya port.

Through all of his treatments, Pryce has a smile on his face. He spends time FaceTiming his brothers and sisters because he misses them so much. He is a silly little boy who loves to play with his siblings and build legos (he’s built more than 300 sets since his diagnosis). Cancer does not define Pryce and he doesn’t let it hold him back.

42900721_740418436312154_371154100009566208_oPryce’s 5th birthday is on May 2, 2020 and his family has organized a parade in his honor. Since Pryce’s wish trip to meet Mickey Mouse has been postponed, the family thought this might help him celebrate in a magical way. Join ACCO in sending Pryce birthday wishes for a most magical birthday!

Pryce will be featured in our Giving Tuesday Now campaign – learn more here.

Follow Pryce’s Story on Facebook and Instagram – @PrayersforPryceEF264129-9ADB-479E-A808-9562FA2C54BD

You can help kids like Pryce by making a donation to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. Your gift will help provide educational resources and support programs for children with cancer, survivors and their families, as well as raise awareness about childhood cancer and the need for more research.

Donate

Nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero here: https://www.acco.org/gold-ribbon-heroes/

Brain tumors in children make up about 15% of pediatric cancers. They are the second most common cancer in children, after childhood leukemias.

The most common brain tumor in children is medulloblastoma. There are many other that affect children, including astrocytomas, gliomas, ependymomas, germinomas and more.Brain Tumor child

Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Children

The symptoms of brain tumors in children vary greatly and depend on the size of the tumor and where it is located. They can include:

  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems with walking or balance
  • Changes in personality
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Weakness or lack of energy 
  • Learning difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with hearing, vision and other senses
  • Pain, especially back pain
  • Headaches, especially early in the morning or in the middle of the night

Because these symptoms are so variable and can be caused by many other things, brain tumors are often misdiagnosed at first, and it can take a long time for the right tests to be done to discover and identify the brain tumor.

Prognosis for Children with Brain Tumors

The prognosis for children with brain tumors depends on the type of tumor, its grade (a number that indicates how abnormal the cancer cells are and how fast they are likely to grow and spread), its size and its location.

For some tumors, especially those that can easily be removed by surgery, the prognosis is good. There are other tumors that very few children, or none at all, have ever survived.

Even when children do survive, they are often left with lifelong effects from the tumor and its treatment, including learning difficulties, growth problems, paralysis and more.

Treatment for Brain Tumors in Children

Like the prognosis, the treatment of brain tumors depends on the type, grade, size and location of the tumor. Treatment often involves a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Treatment for brain tumors is challenging because the brain is a crucial and highly sensitive organ, and it’s difficult to target treatment at the tumor without harming important parts of the brain.

Removing the brain tumor by surgery is ideal, but not always possible. Sometimes the tumor is too widespread and mixed with other healthy tissue, and sometimes surgeons won’t be able to get to the tumor without damaging other critical parts of the brain.

It’s also very difficult to get chemotherapy to reach the tumor because of the blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells that protect the brain from anything foreign — including most drugs — in the blood. 

Because treatment options are limited, some parents choose to enroll their children in clinical trials.

Naomi’s Story

Naomi was just a normal 8-year-old girl until one day she collapsed in school and couldn’t remember her name. After several trips to the hospital, her parents finally got the diagnosis they never could have fathomed: stage 4 pinealoblastoma, a brain tumor of the pineal gland. It had already spread to her spine.

Naomi’s treatment plan is tough: she’s already had four brain surgeries, and she’s undergoing chemotherapy and 30 proton radiation treatments.

Naomi’s a little girl with a big heart, and she keeps her spirits up by helping the other children in the hospital. Last year, she gave away her Halloween candy to kids who couldn’t go trick-or-treating, and now she’s starting a teddy bear drive.

You can help kids like Naomi by making a donation to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. Your gift helps provide educational resources and support programs for children with cancer, survivors, and their families, as well as raise awareness about childhood cancer and the need for more research.

Donate

 

Meet Molly, a 19-year-old currently battling stage 3 anaplastic ependymoma. This warrior is currently a freshman at the University of North Carolina Greensboro studying musical theater. grh molly

A week before leaving for college, Molly experienced debilitating headaches. She went to the emergency room and was sent home with benadryl and a migraine diagnosis. After being asleep for 40 hours straight,  Molly had an MRI which revealed a tennis ball size tumor. On August 15, 2019, Molly was diagnosed with stage 3 anaplastic ependymoma. That same day she was meant to move into her college dorm. Her mom said it was a complete shock, while Molly was just worried about going to school.

Treatment began almost immediately with a total resection of the brain to remove the tennis ball tumor followed by months of rehab and seven weeks of proton therapy.  In January she had her first post op MRI and will keep having scans until officially cleared.

Music has been instrumental in Molly’s recovery. Three weeks after surgery, she danced for physical therapy. Within six weeks, she was on stage performing at a benefit. She wants people affected by cancer to “let yourself have bad days but know that you are strong enough to have good days too. Let people envelope you in love, because you aren’t doing this alone.”

unnamedMolly is an advocate for childhood cancer and has made some very exciting public appearances. She sang in front of 20,000 people at the Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Blue Jackets and raised awareness at the Governor’s Mansion. In addition, she helps to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research by committing to ride a bike for 100 miles with her sisters.

Mighty Molly has been determined since day one of her diagnosis. She is a performer, singer and dreamer. She hopes to be on Broadway or a cruise ship to entertain the masses. Only six kids were chosen at UNCG for her musical theater and the spot was saved for her when she was unable to attend her first semester. Help ACCO send well wishes to Molly and her family.

To learn more about childhood cancer: https://www.acco.org/blog/childhood-brain-tumors-staging-and-prognosis-factors/

To donate because kids can’t fight cancer alone: https://www.acco.org/donate/

To nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero: https://www.acco.org/gold-ribbon-heroes/

#childhoodcancer #childhoodcancerawareness #awareness #goldribbonhero #themightymolly

 

Meet Lilliana, a survivor of Burkitt’s lymphoma!grh lilliana  

Lilli loves to draw and paint, and is currently looking at colleges to pursue a career as a social worker.

Lilli was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 13 on September 13, 2013 and was understandably scared and upset. Shortly after her initial diagnosis, the family got a call saying it was much more serious saying they needed to pack their bags for a two week stay in the hospital. Lilli was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt’s lymphoma.

Treatment was intense for Lilli, she endured seven long months of chemotherapy and spinal taps. She had a port placed in her chest and shortly after had to have it removed due to a severe infection. “I faced many challenges during my treatment both physical and mental but during the whole time I never let myself get a bad attitude about any of it.

“Personally, as a 13-year-old girl, my biggest trouble was feeling confident without my hair. During that time, I did not feel pretty and the only pretty thing about myself was my hair; but, I overcame it and learned that I was beautiful no matter what” said Lilli.

On April 8, 2014 Lilli was cleared for remission and in June of 2019 she was declared out of remission! She is now 19 and attends the survivorship clinic at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital for check ups at least once a year. Please join ACCO in sending Lilli well wishes in her future endeavors.

Lilli was featured in a Buzzfeed article about her journey. Read her firsthand story here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/lillianabailey99/childhood-cancer-gmzl5dpr8
Learn more about childhood cancer here: https://www.acco.org/types-of-childhood-cancer/

Donate to help kids like Lilli fight cancer: https://www.acco.org/donate/

 

GRH_ Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Natalie, a 12 year old aspiring astronaut who wants to become the first woman to walk on the moon! This courageous and determined little girl is a wilm’s tumor survivor!

At three years of age, Natalie was diagnosed with a bilateral Wilm’s tumor. Symptoms started with a swollen stomach and developed into vomiting and constipation.  Her pediatrician ordered an x-ray of her abdomen and initially said it was stool in the images. As a precaution, labs were drawn which came back showing Natalie was severely anemic. She was sent home and ended up in the Cincinnati Children’s ER that night. The family was in the ultrasound room for more than an hour before receiving the diagnosis.

Natalie was immediately admitted into the ICU and chemo started within a few days. A month later Natalie was rushed into emergency surgery in septic shock due to complications and as a result, the tumor and her right kidney were removed. After two months in the hospital, Natalie was released. Four months after the initial diagnosis, Natalie had surgery to help salvage her left kidney however doctors had to remove it and place her on dialysis. Over the next year, she was put under daily chemo and dialysis treatments. In October of 2012, Natalie received a life saving kidney transplant from a family member.

Today, Natalie is a normal 12 year old who loves spending time with family, drawing and participating in drama club. She was officially cured in October 2016 and is very thankful to be a survivor. She still has to go in for labs and doctors visits, but according to her mom Tracy, “she handles all of that like the pro she is.”

Please join ACCO in sending well wishes to the young astronaut to-be, Natalie!

For more information about Wilm’s tumors, please visit: https://www.acco.org/wilms-tumor-and-other-childhood-kidney-tumors/

To nominate your Gold Ribbon Hero: https://www.acco.org/gold-ribbon-heroes/

To donate to help kids like Natalie: https://www.acco.org/donate/