Audrey Knepp, Neuroblastoma

11 Months Old at Diagnosis

Audrey KneppWhen Audrey was just 10 months old, her babysitter noticed a bump on her right temple. “She had not fallen and she was very worried about it,” recalls Audrey’s mother, Krista. At a visit to Audrey’s pediatrician, her parents were told not to worry, some kids just have lumpy heads. Within another month two more bumps appeared and Audrey, a normally happy baby, would scream when laid on her back for a diaper change. Returning to the pediatrician, her parents demanded a referral to their local children’s hospital. That same afternoon Audrey had her first scan. Within two days, she would be diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.

The cancer was extremely aggressive; it was present in her abdomen, on either side of her spine, her skull, and in her bone marrow. The family prepped for a biopsy, blood transfusion, and broviac placement in order to begin chemotherapy as soon as possible. After some success the chemo no longer seemed to be attacking the cancer, so when their doctor told them that a new medication could work she simply needed to take it in smaller doses over a longer period of time. They gave it a shot.

Audrey KneppAfter two years of treatment and a second craniotomy for another it appeared that Audrey was cancer free and her treatment was concluded. This past August, Audrey celebrated 5 years post treatment!

Krista wanted other parents to be able to celebrate milestones, so she began looking for a way to use Audrey’s story to not only spread awareness, but also to provide hope. “We had used the CureSearch site throughout Audrey’s treatment and were thrilled to find that they had a Walk in Knoxville.” This year Krista and several folks from her county formed the Sevier County Super Team for the Walk. “There are currently 15 children actively being treated for cancer in our town. They need the types of clinical trials CureSearch funds,” Krista explains. “When we began this journey with Audrey we met other families, 13 in fact, whose children had cancer. Today, only three of those kids are alive. Again, we need more funding because those children’s lives mattered, and the children who have come after them matter.” Krista and Audrey are determined to do whatever they can to help other families and they know that help can be found in funding research to advance treatments.

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