Ishani, Rhabdomyosarcoma

3 Years Old at Diagnosis

In June 2006, my daughter Ishani, then 3 1/2, developed a painful lump in her left calf. Tests led to surgery, where she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a highly aggressive, extremely rare soft-tissue cancer. Our lives were changed forever as our family’s journey with children’s cancer began. Ishani underwent a year of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiation before she was declared in remission.

Ishani relapsed in January 2009, and again endured surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. This November will mark 2 years since Ishani has been off treatment and her mid-June scans show no cancer!

Despite experiencing many blessings in the midst of Ishani’s illness, it’s imperative to me that people understand the tremendous trials pediatric cancer inflicts on entire families: how brutal cancer and its treatments are, the pain parents endure as they helplessly watch their child suffer, and the struggles of siblings to understand the situation and the required shift in parents’ attentions.

For her part, Ishani, now 8-years old, wants to ensure that cancer doesn’t happen to other children, and ticks off many reasons why she hates cancer, including having to “go to the clinic all the time, get lots of shots and go to the hospital lots of times,” plus “being very sick and not eating from the medicines, losing my hair and having people make fun of me.”

Ishani set a goal of to raise $10,000 for CureSearch however she could, including using money received on Christmas, her birthday, from visiting relatives, and even the tooth fairy. On September 24, 2011 she surpassed that goal when her team – Team Ishani – was the highest fundraiser with a total of $23,517 raised and 103 registered participants at the CureSearch Walk – Austin.

Ishani is not just a survivor; she’s a true inspiration. She will go back for scans in a few weeks. Needless to say, our anxiety levels are sky high. However, we share our daughter’s journey in hopes of raising awareness for children’s cancer. Visit CureSearch.org in a few weeks for an update on Ishani’s most recent scans.

Written for Dash Wallooppillai, by Janet McCann

Ishani Update

“Today we found out that Ishani’s PET scan was normal. We did not make it to the 2 year off treatment milestone the first time, so we are so thankful to have gotten this far, this time. We are grateful to Ishani’s doctor, our family, and friends for their support that has helped us through the last 5 years. Ishani asked me if “anything lit up” on her PET scan. When I answered “no” she said “YAY!!!” It saddens me that children need to even know and understand what all this means. Our family will continue to fight on behalf of all our children.”

Dash Wallooppillai

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