18 Months Old at Diagnosis
My daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when she was just 18 months old. During the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, she had ear infections with high fevers. She also had a decline in appetite and pain in both legs that caused her to stop walking. After several doctor visits, our pediatrician decided to run a blood test. We received the news that no one is ever prepared to hear – our energetic, sweet, innocent girl might have cancer. We were sent to the University of Virginia Hospital to meet with doctors for additional tests. Our world was turned upside down when the tests revealed what we had feared – a leukemia diagnosis.
Part of being a parent is being there to protect your children from things that hurt or scare them. You want them to enjoy a care free childhood and look forward to all of the things that make growing up so special. Knowing that your child is just beginning a journey that will include multiple surgeries, chemotherapy infusions and bone marrow biopsies leaves you with an extremely helpless feeling. Luckily, it didn’t take long to realize that our amazing medical team wanted the exact same thing that we did – to give Anna the best possible care, while allowing her to live like a normal kid.
Anna completed two and a half years of treatment in January of 2014. She has been in remission since September of 2011. It was a tough road but she proved to be one strong little girl. We now return to the clinic for monthly check-ups and blood work. These appointments give Anna (and us) the opportunity to visit our former medical team – a group of people with whom we will forever hold a special bond.
Today, Anna enjoys attending preschool, taking gymnastics classes, dancing, and having playdates. Her favorite television shows are “Dora the Explorer” and “Paw Patrol.” Anna spends much of her free time playing with big sister, Grace, who she looks up to so much! Anna also likes to attend University of Virginia sporting events, especially baseball and basketball. Because of Anna’s treatment, we really do appreciate the little things in life much more. The things that we always took for granted are some of the things that are the most special to us now.
I support CureSearch because I’m very passionate about finding a cure for children’s cancer.
I’ve been involved with the Charlottesville CureSearch Walk for the past two years. This year, I was asked to co-chair the walk, and I didn’t even need to think about it! I’m also on the CureSearch National Walk Committee, helping to shape the program by giving ideas and feedback to other walks throughout the country. Donating my time has been very satisfying and rewarding. I’m honored to be involved in such a great organization.
I really believe that research can and will lead to a 100% cure rate for this horrible disease. Funding is the key to making this happen as soon as possible.
Parents of Anna, Survivor
Co-Chair, CureSearch Charlottesville Walk
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