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Meet Madelyn.

She was diagnosed with Leukemia on Wednesday, August 9th, 2023, and the following is her family's pediatric cancer story.

Madelyn has always been our princess, full of energy. She only needed

to play with her big brother and run outdoors to be happy! A healthy all-around kiddo. A constant thrill seeker, never afraid of anything.

After an emergency prompted us to take an ambulance to our local hospital’s ER, they tested Madelyn to see what was wrong. The doctor came into the room to tell us the news no parent wanted to hear. “Madelyn’s blood tests came back. She has Leukemia… I’m so sorry.”

Having your child diagnosed with cancer is unimaginable. Your mind starts racing, flooding with emotions and questions. Is my child going to be ok? What will they have to go through? What pain will they have to endure?

Once they stabilized Madelyn, they brought her to our nearest pediatric oncology-certified hospital. She had to undergo surgery to place a port in her chest, take spinal fluid and bone marrow biopsy, and start chemotherapy that day.

She came down with a fever a few days into treatment and needed additional attention and extended hospital stay. We were inpatient for about 2 and 1/2 weeks. After being discharged, she still has a long road ahead. Madelyn has to follow up for 2 and 1/2 years of chemo treatment. She has been making progress daily as her body fights to eliminate the cancer cells.

We are so proud of Maddy and her strength; even though no child should endure these struggles, she impresses us daily!

Help Madelyn and the other families we plan to support this September! Please Share & Donate Today! Tag, email, text your friends and donate at least $5. Ask them to do the same

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This is Rachel

Rachel was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare bone cancer) on Feb 8, 2022. Known as a hazardous and aggressive cancer, doctors moved quickly, scheduling a surgical biopsy and port placement and beginning a punishing ten-month chemo cycle at CCMC.

Rachel underwent two additional surgeries, including an above-the-knee leg amputation on June 17, 2022, at Boston Children’s Hospital. The final treatment portion was seven weeks of proton radiation to parts of her pelvis and lungs. During treatment, Rachel endured 2 bouts of COVID, a central line infection, and unbearable side effects from chemo and radiation drugs. She required over 15 blood transfusions and 7 bags of platelets to support her body and is now in treatment for iron overload.

 

Rachel missed half of the fourth and much of the fifth grades but is starting her sixth-grade year after receiving the news that her current surveillance scans are clear of cancer. She will continue to have X-rays, blood work, and MRIs of her femur, pelvis, and lungs every three months for the next two years, as that is the most dangerous time for a relapse. She also attends weekly physical therapy sessions to learn to use her prosthetic leg and gain mobility and confidence.

Her family is grateful to God for His protection and strength and is proud of her bravery and determination. Childhood cancer is a horrible disease, and their prayers are with all warriors on earth and in heaven 💛

Learn About Daniel's Story

Daniel is the fifth child of six total. He is a 19-year-old identical twin with Down syndrome. Daniel and Caleb were born 6 weeks early and spent 7 weeks in the NICU at UConn. They were born with heavy cataracts, needed surgery to remove them, and at two years old, they received implants to help their vision. They are visually impaired, but don’t let that hold them back.

Daniel was diagnosed with B-cell ALL on January 16, 2022. Because Daniel was 17 and had Down syndrome, he was considered high-risk, meaning his admissions would be much longer than usual. Daniel’s first hospitalization was for 29 days. He could go home for six days between returning for 56 more days. During that lengthy hospitalization, the staff became Daniels’ friends and family and tried to keep his spirits up by doing all his favorite things. They performed in his famous Tic Tok videos, sang and danced with him, and continued the prank wars they had started on day 1.

In August, Daniel needed a new port, which required another surgery and a PIC line put in his arm. Daniel developed blood clots in his port and PIC line and a bad infection around his port incision. Daniel also had COVID-19 twice during treatment and needed several blood transfusions and platelets.

 

Daniel was finally allowed to go home in October. He required around-the-clock care and shots three times a day. During the winter months, Daniel recovered nicely and could be home with his family. This past summer, he was hospitalized again, with the hopes of being able to return home with his family soon.

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Anneliese's Story

"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 is happy to volunteer for any chore. Anneliese is always the first to 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 CAT scan would show a mass and the MRI would show a lemon-sized tumor. Finally, the surgery on February 4th revealed that Anneliese had cancer.

 

The diagnosis was ETMR. (ETMR) The rare small round blue cell tumors of the central nervous system 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 March 1st, hoping to keep the 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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Meet Jacob

Jacob was diagnosed with stage 2 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

 

Since his diagnosis, he's been hospitalized several times, undergoing 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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This is Hannah

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.

Hannah had to start a new intensive chemo in January of this year. She just finished cycle four and had to have another lung surgery and radiation of bone Mets.

Hannah is scheduled for upcoming hip surgery and many more months of chemo. Hannah continues to be positive, resilient, and thankful through all the ups and downs! All of Hannah’s care has been through CCMC at Hartford.

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Luca is battling Neuroblastoma

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 

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