I’m an 11 year old girl starting 6th grade at Woodcreek Middle School. I love school, sports, and my pet lizard, “Ollie”. My life is pretty good, however, none of it would be possible without the help of Texas Children’s Hospital.
On November 17, 2016 I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in my right heel. Bone cancer! I’d been having some pain in my right foot for quite awhile. Initially, the doctors chalked it up to growing pains. You see, it’s common for tall children to have growing pains as their heel bones don’t grow at the same rate as the growth of muscles and ligaments in their legs. In the fall of 2016, the pains had not gone away, and my ankle had swelled enough for my mom to schedule additional tests to determine what was going on. Let’s just say we were not expecting to be referred to a pediatric oncologist at that visit.
I had cancer! And the fight of my life was in front of me. Once we determined what we were dealing with, we met with the Oncology team at Texas Children’s hospital. And while the suggested treatment was a bit much to swallow, I was determined to take it on with all the strength I could muster. I had a choice, I could choose to focus on the “why me”….or choose to focus on the “why not me”. Let’s just say I chose the latter.
For the next 18 months, I completed 14 hospital stays for intense chemotherapy, countless blood transfusions, three emergency room visits due to infection, my right foot was amputated, and I went through numerous rounds of physical therapy to learn to walk again.
During this treatment, I became interested in pediatric cancer and why there was not a cure. What I found was that the funding for pediatric cancer research pathetic. Less than 4% of government funding for cancer research is allocated to kids. That’s why organizations like SkyHigh are so important. They not only contribute to research and treatment facilities such as Texas Children’s Hospital, but they also benefit organizations that help patients and families deal with the many challenges that come with treatment.
I was one of the lucky ones. It’s crazy to say that after recalling what I’ve been through, but I am truly lucky. I beat cancer and have a good chance at a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, many stories of pediatric cancer don’t end as well as mine. Along my journey, I have met many friends fighting this horrible disease that did not end up as lucky as me. Some are still fighting…..and some are not.