I believe that it is appropriate to preface this post by saying that life can and WILL come at you full force and slap you across the face at any given moment. Life will give no warning with no reasoning whatsoever.
That being said, I was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer affecting the lymphoreticular system. There have been so many emotions that have come with the news that life just did not prepare me for. I mean, I’m not going to be one to put up a front and hide any emotion. I was overwhelmed and felt almost betrayed by the diagnosis; however, that is not where I’m letting my focus fall.
I want my focus to fall on what is positive in this situation. I feel extremely blessed. God has given me the most amazing support system, an opportunity to gain knowledge in the field of oncology prior to learning that I had cancer myself, and an overall extremely healthy body.
Nothing can prepare you for what may be thrown at you in the life we’re given, but I have never felt as confident as I am that this bump in the road will be cleared with the help from people and resources I have in my life.
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"Anneliese is our youngest daughter and the sunshine of our family. She has two older sisters, ages 14 and 4, and a brother, 12, who all adore her. She brings brightness to every task and happy to volunteer for any chore. Anneliese is always the first to give a hug or give up a treat to cheer up another.
After a weekend of sleeping all day and illness, on February 2nd, we brought Anneliese to the emergency room, never imagining that the CATscan would show a mass and the MRI showed a lemon-sized tumor. Finally, the surgery on February 4th revealed Anneliese had cancer. The diagnosis was ETMR. (ETMR) are rare small round blue cell tumors of the central nervous system and are among the most aggressive brain tumors usually encountered in children.
We were in the ICU from February 2nd until February 20th, then relocated to the oncology floor.
Anneliese started chemotherapy on the 1st of March, with hopes of keeping cancer at bay until we can do radiation in September when she turns three. We have had so many blessings. Time will tell how much of her delays are permanent, like her severe hearing loss in her left ear due to the chemotherapy, and how many will clear up as the chemotherapy ends and her brain continues to heal. Meanwhile, Anneliese remains all smiles, staying strong and fighting every day. We are thankful for every moment we have with her. "~ Kristen Kegler Sabonis
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"My son Jacob turned four years old in January and was diagnosed with stage 2 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Since his diagnosis, he’s been hospitalized several times, going through chemotherapy treatments.
Jacob was once a very happy and energetic little boy who loved to paint, watch scary movies, and play with his three brothers. Now he is less active and withdrawn due to the pain he feels regularly.
As a single parent of 4, it hasn’t been easy to aid Jacob through this challenge, stay active in my other three sons' lives and maintain a full-time job. Despite the difficulties, our family pushes through and prays that things will one day be better!" ~Nicole Norwood
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Hannah is a vibrant and loving girl who lights up the room. She turns 15 in two weeks and has been battling metastatic osteosarcoma since august 2019.
Once diagnosed, Hannah started chemo almost immediately, with ten weeks of chemo, a total shoulder replacement, and then seven more months of chemo after multiple lung surgeries.
Hannah was declared cancer-free in May of 2020. Unfortunately, in September, the doctors found more lung nodules and multiple bone Mets, so they started Hannah on a clinical trial and had another lung surgery.
In January of this year, Hannah had to start new intensive chemo. She just finished cycle four and had to have another lung surgery, as well radiation of bone Mets.
Hannah is scheduled for upcoming hip surgery along with many more months of chemo. Through all the ups and downs, Hannah continues to be positive, resilient, and thankful! All of Hannah’s care has been through CCMC at Hartford.
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Finley Maguire is 22 months old and fighting the battle of her life. Her parents Melanie and Phil admitted Finley on 12/28/20 to Yale New Haven Hospital for the onset of ataxia/unsteady gait. An MRI revealed a brain tumor in/near her cerebellum with some hydrocephalus. She was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma.
Finley landed back at Yale in Mid-January, where they learned that her latest MRI was not good, showing many tumors left in her posterior fossa. Unfortunately, all tumors were not successfully removed. The very aggressive tumor had grown back, showing a spread to the CSF and also leptomeningeal spread. Finley and her parents temporarily relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, to pursue the surgery (another posterior fossa craniotomy) and her chemo at St. Jude’s.
In February, Finley was scheduled for surgery to replace her VP shunt and insert her port-a-cath through which they would administer chemo. Afterward, Finley was rushed for a CT scan to find a major bleed in her brain near the port site and her ventricles. She was rushed back to the OR to repair the bleeding artery and removed the shunt clogged with blood, leaving blood in her brain. That same weekend, the oncologist delivered terrible news that the tumor was MYC amplified – a worse diagnosis than originally received, associated with a poor prognosis.
After two more required surgeries in the middle of March, an MRI showed that the chemo was working. It showed a lessening of disease burden throughout her brain and spinal cord. This type of Medulloblastoma is aggressive and very tricky to treat. Finley will continue the treatments that are buying time until she’s old enough for radiation, which is still over a year away.
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Luca Marquez Johnson is currently re-battling Neuroblastoma. He was initially diagnosed last May and then was declared cancer-free in late October.
Unfortunately, his parents just got the news on February 11th that his cancer is back. While there is a small tumor, he presently has a Curie score of 19. Luca just finished the initial surgeries, and he's completed his first round of chemo. He was able to go home for four days before he woke up with a slight fever.
Luca is an identical twin to his brother Nico. Help Luca and please Share & Donate Today! Tag, email, text your friends, and donate at least $5 and ask them to do the same