The Joy of BEing THERE: Elizabeth’s Story

BEing THERE for families tackling childhood cancer is truly a joy for us, and every day, we’re thankful that you choose to BE THERE for us.  We’re even more thankful when we see the courageous children we help reach milestones in their treatment, recovery and life.  Today, we’re very thankful for Elizabeth.

While most children begin their lives focused on taking in the new world around them, Elizabeth had to come out fighting.  At only eight weeks old, she was diagnosed with Infant Leukemia.  According to’s Roxanne Nelson, infant leukemia is a “rare and sporadic” puzzle, with only 160 cases reported in the United States annually.  Considered by most to be a mysterious disease, this “perfect storm” of genetic variants comes together destructively, yielding only a 50% cure rate among infants.  To be sure, Elizabeth’s parents were disheartened by this news.  Elizabeth, on the hand, handled things in her own way; her mom, Kristi, shared her story:

“Elizabeth spent her first five days in the PICU (prenatal intensive care unit), and originally, the doctors told us she had about a 20% chance of survival, because infant leukemia is very different from childhood leukemia and can be hard to treat. After five days we went to the oncology floor and she had chemo every day; sometimes three different chemo treatments in one day.  Throughout 2012, we spent as much time in the hospital as we did at home.  We celebrated Elizabeth’s first birthday at the hospital.  But after April of last year, things improved, and we were able to keep her at home and conduct her treatments on an out-patient basis.  And although her treatment ended on February 5th, we still don’t know what kind of long-term effects the ten different chemo drugs administered during her treatment will have on her.  She still receives physical and speech therapy, and will soon begin occupational therapy. Amazingly, Elizabeth managed to stay pretty happy through it all.”

As Kristi shared, Elizabeth finished her treatments on February 5th, 2014.  Her story, however, doesn’t end there.  About a month ago, Kristi was kind enough to send us a picture, which we posted on our Facebook page on March 13th, the two-year anniversary of her leukemia going into remission.  The rest, as they say, is history.  The image went viral, and in just one month, we could see the dramatic impact little Elizabeth had on the social world:

114,000+ viewers

11,000+ Likes

450+ Congratulatory Comments

450+ Shares

It was great to see so many people recognize the beauty, hope and love on Elizabeth’s face, as well as the victorious spirit captured in the sign she held.

Last week, Elizabeth, her family and everyone who knows her (including us) celebrated yet again, as she experienced DePORTation Day!  For chemotherapy patients, injections run through a surgically-implanted port, so that treatments can be more easily administered.  DePORTation Day is a big deal, because it is a confirmation for the patient and their loved ones that the treatment regimen is truly OVER.  It’s a wonderful milestone for Elizabeth, and we are all humbled to be a part of it in a small way.

BEing THERE…Today

The chance to BE THERE for Elizabeth’s family wouldn’t have been possible without the support of people like you.  Because of your help, Elizabeth’s family had the opportunity to focus on her.  Just her.  It’s an incredible feeling to know you’re a part of such a blessing.   You have the opportunity right now to help another local family; another family who longs for nothing more than to BE THERE for their child as they tackle cancer.