If you have never met a child with cancer, then, I’d like to introduce you to Caitlyn, she has been diagnosed twice with pediatric cancer. While many statistics state that childhood cancer is rare, when you hear the words, “you have cancer” rare is the furthest thing from your reality. It’s REAL!
Caitlyn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on March 1, 2010. Genetic testing had been done and the results of the leukemia cells showed two subcategories; one being, a very serious gene mutation, Philadelphia Chromosome; which accounts for a very small percentage of diagnosed cases. After learning of the mutation, her treatment plan changed to high risk. Her coarse of treatment had many hurdles, several being life threatening, but she is a fighter and conquered each one of them and came out smiling. The journey of cancer treatment for children is unbearable, on top of that, Caityln and her family endured multiple surgeries, set backs and near death experiences. But, on July 1, 2012 Caitlyn took her last dose of chemotherapy. Until…
On July 31, 2013 Caitlyn and her mom were at what was suppose to be Caitlyn’s last monthly appointment off treatment, at the Bronson Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic, when her blood tests returned, they learned the Leukemia had relapsed. Devastated, and in shock, the family was faced with cancer once again. They had just started to breathe a bit easier with each monthly appointment that passed, and clean blood tests continued to prevail. The very next day, Caitlyn had a spinal tap and bone marrow aspiration, and was admitted to the Bronson Children’s Hospital to start chemotherapy all over again. Saying good bye to the life she had grown accustomed to… remission.
During the first diagnosis and treatment journey, they met many families in various stages of treatment in the Bronson Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, however, families only saw each other in the clinic for brief times or if the children happened to be inpatient at the same time. At a time when you need the most support, it is difficult to reach out and find what you need.
“During the time Caitlyn was off treatment a group of parents saw a need for a support group. I started going to the monthly dinners, thinking maybe I could offer some support to newly diagnosed families, after all, if Caitlyn could beat it with all she had been through, so could their child. Little did we know that we would be on the receiving end of the support given by this wonderful group of parents. As the parent of a child with childhood cancer I am very thankful that CFU and PACKS are here. After all- we all have the same common goal, 1st for our children to be cancer free and 2nd to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and much needed cures.”…Melinda Jackson, Caitlyn’s mother.
Each day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer, and 7 will die from their disease.
Thank you for joining our efforts to raise awareness for childhood cancer and remember to “be bold and go gold for September!”