FOCUS :: CHILDHOOD CANCER

EMILIO

8

Emilio was diagnosed with cancer on February 22, 2014 and went through several years of chemo therapy treatment.
He finished treatment a year ago. He now takes medication for seizures and is still working to build his stamina but we are blessed that he is in remission and doing great!
We knew that fighting cancer was going to be the hardest thing our family would go through but one thing we were not expecting was the anxiety and stress that Emilio would face after chemo when returning to school. Chemo was his life for a couple of years. The hospital was his school and his friends were the nurses and Doctors. Once he was finished with treatment… it was done. We realized at that point, it was like taking this little 5th grade boy and telling him get back to your ‘”normal life”, oh and by the way- your an 8th grader now!
After fighting cancer it’s so unfair to watch him struggle with the simple things, like hanging out with friends or interacting in class.  It broke our hearts to hear him talk about how he eats lunch by himself or sits in a teacher’s classroom during breaks because he’s too shy to talk to anyone.
With lots of encouragement from his family and teachers this new school year seems to be getting better he’s starting to feel more comfortable in his “new normal”.  He still has good days and bad days, but just like with cancer he keeps going no matter how hard it gets!
“When someone finishes chemo, even though their hair has grown back in and they look strong, they still need people cheering them on because it’s hard work getting back to normal life.” -Emilio

EMILY

5

Emily had just turned a year old when she got diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. She started out with really high fevers that we were told by doctors that is was just a virus. The fevers persisted and she got to the point that she couldn’t even keep her medicine down. So we took her back to the hospital. They poked her 12 times that night to get her IV in. To have to hold her down and to see her in that amount of pain it broke my heart. They took blood samples and after a couple of hours they let us take her home. We were home maybe 3 hours when they called us back that they were admitting Emily. Some bacteria had grown in her blood they treated her for the bacteria but he fevers wouldn’t stop. That’s when the started to run other test by they didn’t have any answers. Emily’s stomach started to get so big that her bellybutton popped out. So they decided to do a scan that showed a tumor next to her liver and her kidney. They told me she had Cancer my world came crashing down in an instant. They said it was Stage 4 Neuroblastoma that in a couple of days they would operate her tumor. They operated her but they weren’t able to take her tumor out. Soon after the started chemo she received 6 rounds of chemo. In those 6 round her cancer spread threw her body and we were referred to a Neuroblastoma specialist in San Francisco. They meet with us and came up with a whole new game plan for Emily. They did tell us that she had a 3% chance of being cancer free but we wouldn’t give up. They did a Bone marrow harvest form her own blood cells. She started a much stronger chemo and after a couple of months she was ready for surgery. The second surgery was a success they were able to take out her tumor. Now they had to focus on the cancer in her bones. We started her on some medication that was known to treat acne but that had worked on other people for cancer. She took them for four months and they did scans. They meet with us to let us know that she was officially in remission. She was in treatment for a year and eight months but it was all worth it. We still go for check ups and scans. It has now been two years and a month that she has been in remission. She is finally knowing what its like to be a normal little girl. Loving life to the fullest.

Kamila

1

Kamila turned 6 years old in 2012.  She was starting first grade at a new school and she was very excited.  After a few weeks at her new school, Kamila started having severe headaches, of course at that time I had no idea how severe her pain was, and frequent vomiting just about every morning.  I still feel guilty because I would send her to school even though she complained.  I took her to her doctor and all I was told was she had an infection.  Weeks went by and her condition got worse.  She would lose balance when walking and would fall to her right side, she lost control of her right eye, and that was when I took her to the emergency room and asked the doctor what was wrong with my daughter.  She had a CT scan on September 6, 2012, and that day was when I felt my world collapse when I heard the doctor say “you daughter has a brain tumor”.  That same day she was sent to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera.

That September day was the longest day of my entire life.  I started thinking, what have I done wrong?  What has my baby done wrong? After all she had just turned 6.  After Kamila got admitted to the hospital a felt at peace, I felt that everything was going to be okay, because I decided to put my daughter’s life in God’s hands.  Kamila had surgery on September 10, 2012 to remove the brain tumor.  The surgery was a success.  After the tumor was sent for testing, more bad news was coming our way.  Turned out the tumor was cancerous, doctors told me the name of the cancer she had was called Medulloblastoma.  After a few days my husband and I decided to follow with her treatment which included radiation and chemotherapy at the same time.
Her treatment had great results!  Until this day Kamila is free of cancer!

Every day I thank God for her health, for putting Kamila in the path of all the great doctors and nurses who helped her get better.  Yes, Kamila has struggled at school with other kids because her hair has not grown back, but she is very mature about that.  She is aware of what has happened to her.  Some day’s she is doing great others not so much, and it is something my family and I will continue to learn to live with.

It is not easy, but it is not impossible to overcome a life threating illness as cancer.  Personally, I take it one day at a time because it is not easy to let go of all the struggles I saw my daughter fight against.  She will continue to fight many battles which are the result of all her treatment, but God almighty will make it easy for her and for all the children who are battling cancer, I am sure.  We trust in Jesus!

Fernando

3

Fernando was diagnosed June 21, 2016 with Pre-b cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He missed remission once, but obtained in Aug. 31, 2016 and he continues to be in remission.  Treatment continues to be challenging journey for Fernando and our family. Chemotherapy has played a toll on Fernando little body. He had to deal with a foot drop, nausea, rashes, anaphylactic reaction to medication, long hospital stays, ER visits, fevers, anesthetize, 18 lumber punchers, bone marrow biopsy and aspiration, surgery for mediport, and treatment will continue until Fernando is about 8 years old.

Fernando is a very loving, energetic, competitive, and has a great sense of humor. He is also very tough and caring.  Fernando has showed us what resilience looks like. He has been able to bounce back from all his downfalls from treatment and never complains. He is our hero!!  Fernando is in 1st grade at Leavenworth Elementary. He is enrolled in dual immurement program where he study Spanish. Fernando enjoys dancing Ballet Folklorico, swimming, playing soccer, baseball, and plants vs. Zombies.  Fernando wants to be an Oncologist because he would like to help other children with pediatric cancer.

Emily

7
Emily was born Nov. 30th 2005. She loves sports, soccer being her favorite, history and spending time with her Grandfather. 
March 2015 Emily was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). 
She received 5 months of treatment at Valley Children’s Hospital. Achieved complete remission and return to school and sports. October 2016 Emily relapsed. Emily received treatment at Valley children’s and Lucile Packard Children Hospital – Stanford. On December 20th 2016 Emily received a bone marrow transplant from her little Sister. Today Emily is 8 months post Bone marrow transplant has returned to school and is doing
Amazing !

Leela

4

I was diagnosed at age 14 and had to leave school for a year. I ended up staying back a grade which was really difficult for me but I kept my spirits up with music. I played my ukulele and sang songs to get through the hard times. I’m now about 1 and a half years done with treatment. Looking back, I don’t wish I’d never gotten sick- I’m thankful for the growth that this experience has allowed me.  Now I get to appreciate life on a whole new level.

Laci

laci__11

We joined the world of pediatric cancer on February 21st 2012 when she was 18 months old Laci was diagnosed with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma. She endured 10 months of chemo therapy and 6 weeks of radiation. Laci and our family didn’t get to have a normal Life, she didn’t get to go to the park and play or learn all the things toddlers do. Laci has been off of treatment now for 4 years even tho her life may look normal she is still effected by everything she went through. Today Laci is 7 years old and in the second grade and She struggles with memory loss and has a tough time hearing in the ear she received radiation to. Laci and everyone she knows is proud to say she is a “cancer survivor”.

 Aarin

11
Our lives were turned upside down January 31, 2013. Aarin was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, cancer of the blood at the age of 4. I say “our lives were turned upside down”, because diagnosis affects the whole family. 3.5 years of treatment which included many different types of chemotherapy, steroids, blood and platelet transfusions, numerous hospital stays inpatient and outpatient and surgery.. Aarin is just a little over a year and a half out of treatment, as he finished on April 5th, 2016.. Even though he’s been out of treatment for over a year life after treatment hasn’t been easy with some issues he’s had to deal with(side effects) from the chemotherapy that saved his life.. He is now 9 years old and in 3rd grade!!! He never gives up, he never complains.. He is our hero!

Chloe

10

In October 2013 I was 8 months pregnant with my second baby. We noticed our daughter Chloe seemed more tired and less energetic, so we took her to doctor for a check up. As soon as he pricked her finger he told us to leave and go straight to valley children’s. Not long after multiple blood and platelet transfusion they told us Chloe had high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Through out the whole treatment Chloe was always positive andamazing. She finished her last chemo treatment on her 7th birthday- January 8th, 2016. She now goes in for monthly blood work. She’s a tough cookie and her positive spirit still amazes us.

Ellyanna

9

Elyanna started experiencing pain in her arm and then started to limp when she walked. She was also very tired, had little appetite, and had some fevers. On June 9, 2015 she was taken to the emergency room in Hanford. After a short examination, she was sent home with ibuprofen. The next day she woke up in extreme pain and taken to Valley Childrens Hospital. We arrived to the hospital about 2:30 and by 4:30pm doctors gave the life changing news- leukemia. At that moment Elyanna’s life changed forever. She was admitted and received an emergency platelet transfusion and next day her Mediport was put in and chemo started. She has had two years of chemo treatments, multiple lumber punctures, multiple platelets and blood transfusion. She has been in remission since a month and a half after she was diagnosed. She will be completing treatment on August 31 of this year.
This journey has been scary but also has brought the family closer together. She loves having her cousins over and playing outside on the trampoline or the swings. Elyanna continues to smile and be her silly self!
Please join Sweet Nectar Society in cheering on Elyanna!

Knaiya

cancer-

When knaiya was 18 months old she was taken to the hospital with respiratory problems. After many ultrasounds and x-rays they realized she had a large mass in her chest that was compressing one of her lungs, tranchea, and heart all to the side. At that point she was only using one of her lungs which was why she was having such a difficult time breathing. She was then diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma. Knaiya went through two and a half years of chemotherapy and she fought everyday with a smile on her face.
By the grace of God knaiya beat her battle against cancer and is now in remission. Cancer has really affected our lives, I think as a parent watching your child have to fight for their life is the most difficult thing in the world. But she is such a strong girl and she is truly my inspiration and hero. She will forever be my warrior princess.

Natalia

12

Cancer is not a happy word for me. When I think of cancer some of the things that come to mind are lots of shots, gross medicine, a lot of hospital stays. It is not fun for anyone to go through.
I will always remember the great nurses that made me laugh and held my hand through chemo. I am thankful for all the people who loved me through chemo. I have learned to stay strong all the way through it.

Sadie

2

Sadie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on February 19, 2010, just four days shy of her 2nd birthday. She was considered a “Slow responder” which extended her treatment to 2.5 years.
In October 2010 Sadie got pneumonia and ended up in the PICU. She was put on a breathing machine, had 2 chest tubes and 1 stomach tube inserted. After weeks of being in the hospital and Sadie had a miraculous recovery from pneumonia and was able to go home to continue cancer treatment.
Sadie completed chemo on June 17, 2012. She has grown into a beautiful girl with a very bright future. She loves her dog, and doing the “normal kid stuff” she used to be limited to doing. Sadie is such a brave and strong girl, sometimes shy, and a touch of diva!

Khloe

Khloe was born April 22, 2010. It all started when Khloe was getting out of control fevers and then she started to limp around the house. After going back and forth to her doctor all they would say is she had some type of virus and maybe she sprained her ankle and that went on for two weeks. Two days after her second birthday on April 24, 2012 we finally took her to Valley Children’s Hospital. As we waited it was taking a long time. I could see from the window that all the doctors where outside her room and I could see it in the nurse’s faces that something was wrong. I would ask the nurse when the doctor was coming in and when she looked at me, I could see the tears in her eyes. I knew at that moment something was wrong. When the doctor came in he told us, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

She was hospitalized for the first couple months during that time she did end up in the PICU for about three weeks for a bad stomach infection that almost took her life. With the Grace of God by her side she amazed us all and fought her little heart out and overcame her issue.
Getting involved in raising money for cancer research was very comforting for us. In 2013 she was Girl of the Year for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She was very excited to be dressing up and taking pictures to go to different events. Khloe will forever be her family’s hero. Seeing our little princess go through this battle has changed our family in more ways than one. Were thankful for the family that we have that has helped and supported us through this journey. Khloe completed chemo in July 2014.
Khloe is now in second grade and is excited to learn a second language in her Dual Immersion Spanish program. She is a lil Diva all the way but when she playing soccer its watch out her comes (KoKo), she takes her games serious. She loves family time with her brother and sisters. God is good!

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