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Family Friday - Ryan McGarry

Remarks on Cancer

Penn State Dance Marathon, “THON” Kick-Off Dinner

January 26, 2005: from the Presidents Hall, Penn Stater Conference Hotel

Ryan McGarry

Transcript of the original speech

 

This story begins in a CAT scan waiting room, at Scripps Hospital, 25 miles north of San Diego. I remember with absolute accuracy the hum of harsh fluorescent lights, and a wall clock’s clicking—that echoed and think about that—how hard it is for a clock to echo in a room; but it did. I’m watching the second hand, watching it start-stop-start-stop…

 

The pen I’m holding—it’s for the consent form—I start to tap it on the clipboard in synch with the clock.

 

Tap

Tap

Tap       and I’m watching, with great intent, every tick of that clock

Tap

Tap

Tap       The old man in the stretcher next to me lifts his head: “do you

Tap       know kid,” he says, “what the origin of the word ‘patient’ means?”

 

TAP. 

 

I say – “huh, wha…no”

“There’s a latin root to it—pati…”

“uh what does it mean?”

“Patient, pati – it means…to suffer.”


A horrifying chill… 

It had taken me a few days from diagnosis to fully realize…and now it came. I was a cancer patient.

“And since that’s what we are,” said the old man, “let’s not make things worse with the pen.” 

Just what does it mean to be a cancer patient?

In the coming weeks, you will be the privileged audience of many stories about cancer and hope. And it’s true: survivors and those who knew the brave fights of angels taken too soon—a hope surrounds them, as it did some 4.1 million ways to many of you one year ago. But even as a survivor…some days I wake up very unhopeful—worried about a med school exam, angry about a cell phone bill, crabby for no good reason. In fact I’d argue that the only way to go through life completely hopeful one-hundred percent of the time is to have to two ear phones: you’ve got Larry and his music in one ear, and nonstop Mike Cocco in the other. And it’s all hope. 

That joke was brought to you by MikeCocco.com  — slash I heart you … Say we won’t 

So if not hope…maybe being a cancer patient is best represented by chemotherapy; because, of course, chemo is unique to cancer patients. And yet, I’d caution you: while a bald little boy is an instant grab for compassion, a little girl in an oncology clinic with a full head of hair and not a moment of chemo deserves just as much of your affection—it may be that you just can’t see the resection scars from her brain surgery. In 2006, with fantastic advances in anti-nausea meds and precise dosing, chemo isn’t always the hardest part of being a cancer patient.

But maybe chemo has never been the hardest part of being a cancer patient.

Maybe the hardest part about being a cancer patient—indeed, what defines a cancer patient—is that clock on the wall…just like in the CAT scanner waiting room. 

Tonight, for most of you hopefully, minutes and seconds have been racing, ripping, rocketing by. For a cancer patient, and parents of cancer patients, those seconds drip—even slower than the drip of an IV bag.

How slow can a minute be? I have a watch right here; I thought we’d give it a try

(click) 

And that was only thirty seconds. Lagging seconds stretch nights into eternities; thoughts race in such empty time:

Is the chemo working?

Are there still cancer cells?
That pain in my arm—is that the cancer coming back?

Is it winning?

Will I make it past the seventh cycle?

Did I pick the right treatment?

Was the doctor right?

What does this headache mean?

What does this pain mean?

What does this swelling mean?

Is it cancer? Is it going away? Is it still in me? Is it still in my child?

  

Ladies and Gentlemen: you must always remember that no matter how many millions of dollars THON raises, it is your very presence and the wondrous distraction you create for those kids and their families—it is your ability to interrupt those awful, slow barges of time that carry torturous thoughts…this is the true power of THON.

My slow clock—those hesitating seconds; well, they’ve never sped up. I’m a few months from officially being cured and cancer is well into my past, yet there are nights still where a normal pinched nerve in my arm stirs an army of sleep-haunting worries. 

And yet, the same slow clock that brings pain…it is also the same slow clock that bestows an extraordinary gift to those who bear its slow ticks: 

Tap

Tap   in mere seconds

Tap                  I can pack more life

Tap                            and more joy

Tap                                    and more love

 

TAP.


than any racing, rushing, reckless second could ever claim….

I can live so much more—take me on a run under a winter sunset sky, and in just a few lousy seconds, I can pick out every blue hue and red streak and purple haze—not from the sky above—but from the galaxy of sparkling snow crystals that reflect them…like colored comets on the drifts. 

I can let joy find me more—I passed a med school bio exam the other day. (Paused here) That’s all you gotta know. You want to talk about joy; that’s huge! In the mere seconds that I saw my grade…whew…elation! 

And I can love so much more—in just seconds. You know some time ago I went on a first date. She’s here tonight. And I promise: a hundred or a thousand dates later, when she laughs, when she calls me “ry,” when, with a lone smile, she breaks away my worries…heaven’s elusiveness—in seconds—is with breathtaking splendor, lost for my eyes only.

For me, the worst part about cancer has also been the best part. I can promise that each of you can, with a conscious effort, enjoy the better side of that slow clock. And so tonight I challenge you, as THON approaches, to slow down your seconds, and pack them with all the life and joy and love you can muster into them.

And yet for all this talk about time, I will not tell you tonight to seize the day. For what are days? Minutes? Seconds?

You see it’s no coincidence that these seconds:

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap…

 

Are ruled by these: (held heart)

Tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap, tap-tap…

Ladies and gentlemen, do not seize the day, for what are days and minutes and seconds? Instead, as the little girl you’re about hear about did always…seize your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under Inspiration Family Friday FOTW Family of the Week

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Family Friday

2010 THON Family Hour Speech

by Sabrina Carruthers-Parraga 

Every day is a gift and holds the possibility of a miracle.  In my case, three miracles!  My name is Sabrina Carruthers-Parraga and I am miracle number one, a long-term Four Diamonds cancer survivor.  Because of the love, determination and hope of THON students, not only was I able to live, but the next generation was able to be born.  Here are miracles number 2 and 3, my children, Isabela and Octavio.  Along with me is also my husband, Cristian, my mom, Sherri, who works for The Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Medical Center, and my sister, Ashley, a PSU alumni and THON dancer.

My story goes way back to the year 1984.  I was just 4-years old and diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at Hershey Medical Center.  The doctors gave my parents the grim news of a 40% chance of a 5-year survival.  I remember my chemotherapy treatments all too well.  Countless times of losing my hair, spinal taps, blood transfusions, powerful and painful chemotherapy injections, horrible tasting oral medicine, laying in a hospital bed, bruising, vomiting, weakness and crying.  For 2 ½ years, I received the medical care necessary to treat my leukemia, with support from The Four Diamonds Fund and its wonderful and dedicated medical and social support teams.  This was also the time of my first THON.  THON was in the White Building - raised $226,508 and was an unbelievable experience for a first-timer.  I forgot for one weekend that I was a very sick child.  I instead enjoyed riding shoulders and water gun battles with THON dancers, laughing with other kids who looked just like me, and of course learning the line dance! 

As things were starting to look up, my luck took a turn for the worse and I relapsed with leukemia in 1989, at age 9.  This news hit my family like a ton of bricks.  I remember asking, “why me God? Why me again? I’m just a kid!”  But anyone who has had a loved-one diagnosed with cancer knows cancer is not choosey and no one is exempt.  This time I was treated harder and longer with some new chemotherapy drugs being part of my normal protocol.   Just as the treatments and success rates for cancer survivors grew, so did THON… moving in 1999 to the Rec Hall and then again in 2007 to the Bryce Jordan Center. 

Despite all odds, I am alive today.  After two tough rounds of chemotherapy and many, many bumpy roads … I beat cancer!!! Like the advancements and growth of THON over the past 25 years, so has the childhood cancer survival rate improved significantly. Today, children diagnosed with my same type of childhood cancer that I had, have an 80-90% chance of cure.  Because of your support of research study and superior medical care, THON has helped over 2,000 children treated at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Because of your support I stand before you today to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping to give me hope and a chance at life.  Because you cared, I am a Four Diamonds cancer survivor, I am blessed to be 30 years-old, I enjoy being the wife to my best friend, I am a teacher to middle school students, and I am forever grateful to have fulfilled my dream to be a mother to these two precious children, Isabela and Octavio. 

THON students have raised $61 million dollars for The Four Diamonds Fund so far and I say let’s keep fighting and raising money until childhood cancer is a thing of the past. Thank you for dancing like you have never danced before, because these kids are fighting for their lives like they never have before. THON on!!!!

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Filed under Family Friday Family of the Week FOTW

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Family Friday

The Brandon Loose Family


Brandon was the average 4-year-old boy, loved playing sports-didn’t matter which sport, until February of 2004.  He started with leg pain so bad it would wake him up at night.  We took him to several doctors in our area, they all said the same thing he needs a psychiatrist.  After hearing this so many times and knowing our son, we decided to take him to Hershey Medical Center.  Cindy Riker was the first person that actually listened to me and heard me.  I will never forget her name.  She made Brandon an appointment with Dr. Groh on April 8th.  Dr. Groh ran many tests and came to us and said to “hope he has leukemia”. Our hearts stopped.  He also made an appointment with the oncology department for the next day.  Brandon had the first of many bone marrow biopsies that day.  The test confirmed Brandon did not have leukemia, it felt like a weight was lifted from our shoulders, and then they dropped it even harder.

They told us Brandon had Neuroblastoma.  Now I understand why we were to hope for leukemia. Leukemia has a 90 percent cure rate, Brandon had Neuroblastoma, which only had a 40 percent survival rate.  We had a battery of tests to confirm this diagnosis.  April 10th, 2004, it was confirmed Brandon had Stage 4 high-risk Neuroblastoma.  There are only 4 stages of Neuroblastoma; we were at the worst stage.  He had tumors throughout his body and his bone marrow was 95 percent full with disease.  We started chemotherapy immediately.

During our first day in the hospital, many people from the hospital came to see us. The one I remember the most was Greg.  He is a social worker for Hershey Medical Center and the Four Diamonds Fund.  Greg was like a whirlwind, he gave me papers to read, to sign, to fill out. I think he told us about the Four Diamonds Fund, but I didn’t remember until we got the letter in the mail stating that we were officially a Four Diamonds Family.  At the time, we had no idea how much the Four Diamonds fund would help us.

Throughout the first 15 months of cancer, Brandon went through 6 rounds of inpatient chemo, a stem cell harvest, an 8 hour surgery to remove the original tumor and some lymph nodes, one round of intense chemo, followed by a stem cell transplant. He had 18 rounds of radiation to the original tumor site. Then, 6 rounds of accutane, plus numerous hospital visits for follow up appointments and stays for infections.  July 31, 2005 Brandon was officially in No Evidence of Disease status.

He started 1st grade that year, he was our “normal” boy again.  In April he was skateboarding with his brother, and if it weren’t for a skateboarding accident we would not have found the lump that would start the nightmare all over again.  With Neuroblastoma, after relapse the survival rate goes down to 20 percent and usually children die within the first six months of relapse.  Brandon was older this time, so he helped make decisions with his treatment, his first choice was 10 rounds of outpatient chemo.  We traveled to Hershey everyday for a week, then several times a week for 3 weeks for blood work and check-ups.

After the 10 rounds of chemo, we were told it was hurting him more than helping so Dr. Powell wanted us to take him to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to see Dr. Maris.  Dr. Powell told us to go with an open mind.  The first time we went Brandon had to have blood work done, he had a mediport and the nurse had to access it to draw blood.  After she accessed him, he looked at me and says “Holly does it better”. He was a very honest kid.  The first treatment we tried did nothing except give the cancer time to grow.  So in April of 2007, we tried MIBG Therapy, which is radiation put directly into his bloodstream, this therapy worked wonders, most of his tumors were gone and bone marrow only had 15 percent of disease.  So Dr. Maris recommended we do the same thing again.  We did and it was great, all tumors gone and less than 2 percent in his bone marrow, he needed to have a stem cell rescue afterward. 

Now it was time to keep the disease under control, we did another trial, which unfortunately didn’t work.  All the treatments done in Philadelphia were Phase I trials, which means there is really no way to tell if it would work or not.  We were still going to Hershey all along for blood work in between trips to Philly.  So we tried yet another one and after that didn’t work, Dr. Maris recommended we go back to Hershey. 

We went back to Dr Powell in Hershey and did the same chemo we started with in 2006—we are now in 2008. So far we had an extra year with Brandon than most parents get.  We were told a few times that he wasn’t going to make it.  Those times Brandon showed them he wasn’t going down without a fight.  We tried different chemos to make the cancer go away and to keep our boy from having pain. 

We also did many things as a family, we went on vacation to Washington D.C. In August of 2008, he went to Camp Can Do and had the week of his life.  He had so much fun he cried when it was time to go home.  In September, we did the Four Miles for Four Diamonds walk.  Brandon started and finished the walk on his own. October 2nd was the day we found out our time with him was limited, his liver was shutting down.  Dr. Neally said it could be days, weeks, or months.  On October 3rd he had a sleepover with two of his best friends.  October 4th was spent with family and friends stopping by, Brandon was still the happy kid we love.  October 5th he slept a lot, the only time he woke up was when his favorite nurse and her husband who he called his step mom and step dad, stopped by to see us. 

That was the last time Brandon was awake.  October 6th at 3 am I went to bed, before I went to sleep I talked to Brandon.  I told him we are not giving up on him; we will fight as long as he wants too.  Then I said something to him that I thought I would never say to any of my children and that is if he’s tired and he wants to go fly with the angels it’s ok.  I told him I would take care of his daddy, and his brothers and sister, and that I would be ok.  And sometime between 3 and 5:30 A.M. Brandon went flying with the angels. 

Brandon had a wish box that no one was allowed to look in.  We looked that day; there were three wishes in his box.  The first one was to marry his girlfriend Sophie, the second wish was that all his pain goes away now that he’s in heaven he is perfect.  And his third and final wish is one I am trying to make come true for him.  And with the help of all of you we can make this wish come true.  It is to find a cure for cancer. 

Brandon Adam Loose was born June 13, 1999 and flew to the angels October 6, 2008.  He taught us so much in his short life, he taught us to care for people, to live life to the fullest and to never give up no matter how much it hurts.

            Thank you for listening to the story of our son, brother, and friend.

            Brandon’s family  

 


 

 

Filed under Family Friday FOTW

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Family Friday

Mom & Dad Remember Felicia’s Hospitalization (7/31/98-10/1/98)


The following was written by Deanna & Kevin Rupp, Felicia’s parents, as a way to share the experience with everyone.

Felicia was a very brave young lady, battling cancer not once but twice in her short life time. In April of 1993, when she was just seven years old, she collapsed at school and was subsequently diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. After removal of the tumor, she endured a summer of intensive chemotherapy, six weeks of daily radiation and then a year of “maintenance chemotherapy”. She was then considered “off treatment” but not “in remission” due to the fact that her cancer was an adult type of cancer (glioblastoma multiforme). That meant that she had to go at least until she was 18 to be considered in remission.

Felicia then struggled and perservered to get back into school and the normal life of a young girl, and she did it with such determination we were blown away! She continued “off treatment” and surpassed her five-year mark of being “off treatment” in April of 1998. We were thrilled but knew that we had to make it to her 18th birthday to feel totally “out of the woods”. That day would not come.

On July 25th, 1998, Felicia came down with a stomach bug, which usually ends after 24-48 hours…hers just wouldn’t subside. After four days of continuous vomiting and diarrhea, we took her to Hershey Medical Center to be seen by her oncologist. They admitted her routinely to hydrate her and run some blood tests. The results were devastating. Less than 48 hours later, a bone marrow test, a spinal tap and too many blood tests to count, we had concrete results—-Felicia had “secondary leukemia”, a second cancer.

As we broke the news to Felicia, her first question regarding her upcoming treatment (chemotherapy) was “Will I lose my hair again?” Our answer was “yes”. She had just turned 13 years old, had just celebrated the five year anniversary of the removal of her brain tumor and was looking forward to starting school in another month. Instead, we were telling her she would most likely be spending the next two months in the hospital due to the length of time it would take for her blood counts to recover after the chemotherapy. She took this news relatively well, although a little quiet, with few questions.

The day after we broke this news to her, she began the 10-day cycle of chemotherapy. From this moment on, Kevin (Dad) spent most of his time at the hospital, spending every night there on the “bed” built in for parents (but not made to sleep on too many nights in a row)! His dedication and devotion to Felicia were amazing! She tolerated the medicine fairly well, with the usual vomiting. She was still fighting the virus that brought her into the hospital in the first place and was in the bathroom more than she wasn’t. She was getting weak but still had her sense of humor. She always perked up when she had visitors, especially her five brothers and sisters. She especially loved seeing her newest addition to the family, her baby brother Lawrence, who was now 9 months old. Somewhere between the first and second week, a small tattoo-looking circle appeared on her upper left arm. Dermatologists were called in to test it and it continued to grow and grow and it was determined that it was most likely a fungal infection, which can occur in patients with low blood counts. Her primary oncologist told us that this could be threatening if her blood counts didn’t start to go back up to fight this infection. In the next couple of weeks, the spot on her arm grew larger and more tender until it was giving her a lot of pain. They ran tests over most of her body trying to determine if the fungal infection had spread anywhere. After several xrays and tests, spots were found on her lungs.

Approximately two weeks after finishing her chemotherapy, Felicia’s hair started falling off…it was literally everywhere and it was driving her crazy. It was itchy, it was messy and just a pain in the butt, as Felicia put it so bluntly! She decided that she wanted Dad to buzz it so at least her hair would be short strands falling out. Upon buzzing her hair, she wanted to do “something crazy”, to use her words, and we decided to get a temporary hair color and dye her hair. She wanted purple but settled for blue because the only purple coloring we could find was permanent! One afternoon, we dyed her hair blue (see above picture), put her in a wheelchair and paraded her down the halls, where many doctors, nurses and passers-by stopped to comment on her blue hair. It brought a smile to her face that we hadn’t seen for a while and she loved the attention! The funniest thing is that although this color was “temporary”, her scalp stayed blue for weeks after all her hair fell out. It even stumped new doctors and nurses who would try to consider the reasons that her scalp had turned blue! We really had fun with it!!

About this time, approximately four weeks into her hospitalization and three weeks post chemotherapy, Felicia’s blood counts were still not coming up and she was getting weaker and weaker. They began transfusing red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets daily, hoping to help her blood counts recover. She was running high fevers and incoherent much of the time that she was awake, which was less and less. On August 29, Felicia was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). She spent the next nine days in PICU where she had erratic heart rates, low blood pressure, high fevers, and problems urinating (kidney and liver function problems).

They were able to stabilize her, although she was not really awake any more. She was moved back to a room in the oncology wing yet still considered in “Intermediate Care”, so she required more care and assistance from her nurses. She was now in diapers and she needed to be changed and repositioned every two hours to avoid her getting bed sores. This was the part of her treatment she hated the worst…and she let whoever was changing her know how she felt! About this time, they confirmed the spots on her lungs as “fungal pneumonia” and also found some spots on her brain stem, although they weren’t going to do a lot about them until her blood counts started to show some improvement. She remained in this wing for another week until she was once again transferred to PICU, where she spent another week battling her blood pressure going too high or too low and daily high fevers. She was still receiving the three different blood transfusions daily but there were no signs of her blood counts recovering.

On September 22, Felicia was moved back to the oncology wing to the original room she was first hospitalized in. A few days after being transferred back to this wing, her primary cancer doctor talked with us about the measures we want taken if and most likely when her organs began to fail or she had trouble breathing. This was one of the hardest moments of Felicia’s hospitalization. She wasn’t really with us any more because she hadn’t been awake for so long, yet this was concrete proof that she most likely wouldn’t come back to us. We listened to the doctors recommendations and expectations for Felicia and then spent the rest of the afternoon discussing our wants and hopes for her. We were told that the longest anyone has gone until their blood counts had recovered with the type of chemotherapy she had received was five weeks….Felicia was now at eight weeks with no signs of her blood counts recovering. Upon hearing that, we made the final decision to put a “Do Not Resucitate” order in her chart and decided that no matter what, we didn’t want her transferred back to intensive care.

This was probably the time we prepared our other children for Felicia’s imminent death. Ranging in age from 11 months to 13 years, it was a difficult thing for us to explain and it was a difficult thing for them to hear. Our oldest daughter, Monica, who is just four months older than Felicia, cried at first and then decided she would spend all the time she could with Felicia before it happened. For the last few weeks, our visits with Felicia were usually without the kids because she wasn’t awake to know they were there and there wasn’t a lot for the kids to do for hours at a time. After telling the kids Felicia’s prognosis, they all went to the hospital for another visit to actually talk with Felicia and see her, although she was still not awake and was still hooked up to all the machinery. Our 6-year-old daughter was scared seeing her sister this way and it was hard to see her reaction, but it was quite understandable. Monica spent the next weekend by Felicia’s bedside talking with her and fluffing up her pillows and arranging her bedding. It was heart-breaking to watch, a loving sister saying a final goodbye to her best friend.

On Thursday, October 1, 1998, at 9:10pm, Felicia died and went to heaven. Kevin was with her, as he was through her whole hospitalization, and he was there as her breathing became labored and he told her “Felicia, if the angels have come for you, you’d better go!” What a loving father and compassionate man. Kevin called two women from our church who had been close to us throughout Felicia’s illness in order for them to come to the house and tell me in person about Felicia, and so I wouldn’t be alone when I got the news and woke the kids to give them the news. I appreciated that gesture more than he’ll ever know. As I went from bedroom to bedroom, telling the kids and telling them to get dressed, it wasn’t very real yet.

We made the final drive to Hershey Medical Center to say goodbye to our daughter, our sister. We got there close to midnight and were greeted in the hallway by Kevin and two of Felicia’s favorite nurses, along with some other nurses. As we entered Felicia’s room, we found her lying peacefully on her bed with the lights turned down low, no machines connected to her and her favorite CD “Dreams of Angels” playing in the background. She looked so peaceful and at rest that I was glad we had all come to see her.

As we made arrangements for Felicia services, we decided that she would not want everyone sitting solemnly in the church crying. Felicia’s life was a story to tell and a life to celebrate and that’s exactly what we did. We called it “A Celebration of Life”. Complete with purple balloons and MAKE-A-WISH Foundation clowns, the atmosphere was an uplifting one. Felicia’s fellow classmates from Ephrata Middle School sang a moving rendition of “Amazing Grace” and four different people spoke about her lasting memory in their life: her elementary principal, Mr. Tom Legath; her sixth-grade homeroom and language arts teacher, Mr. Paul Sellers; her primary care nurse, Ms. Amy Tubbs; and her loving father, Kevin Rupp. Our pastor also said a few words before the entire congregation listened to “ANGELS AMONG US” (by Alabama). It was a very meaningful way to say our final goodbyes, and our final thank yous….for making life so joyous and for helping us realize how precious life really is.

 

Filed under Family Friday Family of the Week FOTW Rupp

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Family Friday

The Becca Allen Family

 

 

Hi I am Liz Allen, from the Allen family and this is my little sister’s story.

My little sister’s name is Rebecca or as we call her Becca. When she was born she seemed ok but after a while she would get these really bad ear infections.I noticed she would also bruise very easily. My mom took her to the pediatrician and they said she would be fine as long as they gave her medicine. It would work for a little while but then the ear infections would come back even worse so the pediatrician sent my mom, dad and Becca to the Hershey Medical Center.

I was in school at the time so the person in charge came up to me and my other sister Steph and told us that we would be staying a little later than the other kids. One of the teachers told me that my sister was sick and she had cancer. I was only 11 so I didn’t really know what was going on. I knew what cancer was but I didn’t know how bad my sister had it and how badly it would effect my family. Later that day, I was picked up and we went right to the hospital to see my sister.

I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I walked in I felt really awkward and out of place. We went up to seventh floor with my newborn baby sister Amanda. She was born just a week before Becca was diagnosed. After they ran a few tests we found out she had ALL or Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Leukemia cells are abnormal cells that cannot do what normal blood cells do. The abnormal cells are immature white blood cells that cannot help the body fight infections.

When I first walked into the room she was hooked up to so many tubes and wires it was scary. I didn’t know what was happening to her. After a day she came home but we had to rush her back to stay for two weeks. She fought with all her heart and I honestly was happy that my sister able to beat the Leukemia. She has been in remission for 5 years.

If my family hadn’t been a part of the Four Diamonds Fund we would have never been able to pay for the treatments. Our family heard of a thing called THON. We have been going since 2006 and I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I love the feeling of going up to Happy Valley to see our college friends and get the support and love from people we never met. The best thing about THON is that I can never actually find my sisters haha. Actually I LOVE the whole family aspect of it. THON makes me feel like we are all a big family. And that’s exactly what we needed at the time and I never will get tired of it!!


 

Filed under Family Friday Family of the Week FOTW Becca Allen THON