3 Years Old at Diagnosis.
“The first time, it was just complete shock and we went into autopilot mode to just fight. This time around, it hit us a little harder because I think we thought we might have actually been out of the woods after so long.”
Those are the words of Beth Freifeld, whose daughter Sadie was first diagnosed with stage IV high risk neuroblastoma when she was only 3 years old. That was in 2010, and since July 2011, she has been in full remission. But just this year, at 10 years old, Sadie has suffered a relapse.
“It’s like getting hit by an 18-wheeler. Along with Sadie’s doctors, we are all in shock.”
Along with feeling the shock of the relapse, Beth is concerned with the emotional well-being of her children. When Sadie was diagnosed at age 3, she didn’t mind staying at the hospital. She quickly became friends with the hospital staff, bringing joy to their everyday interactions and always facing treatment with a smile on her face.
Her brother Max, who was 7 at the time, was bumped from playdate to playdate after school, being watched by wonderful friends. Neither of the kids knew the magnitude of what the whole family was facing, and that was okay with Beth & her husband Steven because it was such a devastating period.
This time around, it’s much different, as Sadie is 10 and her brother is 14, and they understand much more clearly what is happening. Despite the news, Sadie is once again staying super positive and strong.
To her mother Beth, Sadie is a superhero because she is the most positive, upbeat, inspirational, compassionate girl she has ever met. Because of these characteristics, she and her husband Steven often marvel at where Sadie actually came from! Sadie missed out on so much of what should be a “typical” childhood, and is about to miss out on even more, yet she continues to sing around the house, care deeply for her friends and family, and puts others ahead of herself.
“She is, and has been, my hero since she was first diagnosed because of the way in which she handled adversity. It has proven to not be from immaturity or naiveté of a 3-year-old, and she is showing the same strength and more now at 10 years old. She is strong and brave when faced with situations that many adults would falter. She regularly speaks out for raising money for pediatric cancer research, and while she knows that it is a part of her life, has never let it define her. That’s a superhero. That’s my hero. Super Sadie.”
Just as Beth supports her daughter through this remission, she equally supports children’s cancer research. In fact, she helped to spearhead the first-ever CureSearch Walk on Long Island in 2011, bringing along the largest team!
She believes that research for children’s cancer is crucial. It’s an underfunded, underestimated area of our medical scope that is shameful, and she is constantly doing what she can to bring awareness to others on just how common this awful disease is for children, and how little funding it receives.
Beth has some advice for parents of superheroes facing a similar fight with cancer. She says:
“Stay strong. Be strong for your child, but remember you aren’t a superhero – so take care of yourself. You can’t be good for them if you’re falling apart. Stay positive – your attitude reflects outward. Stay a parent – continue to teach and yes, even discipline. And lastly if applicable, make time to be a spouse/a parent to your other children. Don’t focus so much on your sick child that you forget the other significant people around you.”
CureSearch sends its heartfelt support to the entire Freifeld family during this difficult time. We are rooting for superhero Sadie!
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