15 Feb Cancer Impacts Kids: Meet Our Friend Abby!
Childhood Cancer is deadly. 1 in 5 children who develop cancer will die.
My friend Abby beat those odds! Meet Abby:
Abby is an unforgettable young lady. She has defied the odds, but she is so much more than a “survivor”. Cancer has, without a doubt, changed her life but she is more than a cancer survivor – she Thrives!
Abby does not remember a whole lot of her cancer treatment. She was only 4 1/2 years old when she was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis – a name that rolls smoothly off her tongue while I scramble to decipher the strange syllables enough to Google it!
Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare form of cancer – especially in children. 1 out of every 200, 000 children develop LCH each year. LCH can affect different parts of the body: skin, bones, lungs, brain, mouth, liver/spleen, or others causing different symptoms depending on its location.
Abby’s Mom first took her to the doctor because of a bump on her head. The doctor sent her home, telling her not to worry about the odd goose egg, but her mom knew there was something else going on and returned to the doctor. By the time they did an x-ray she had 2 tumors near her eye.
What does she remember most of her ordeal? “Everyone was upset, and worried,” she says, “I didn’t know why.” She remembers treatments being kind of fun; the Children’s Hospital did their best to cheer her up. Her parents would certainly tell a different story: one of overwhelming stress, anxiety, and difficulties of having one child in chemo with 3 younger ones at home. Her mom says that through it all, Abby always had a smile for everyone.
How did cancer affect Abby?
After treatment, Abby still lived with pain for a long time. She was on very high dose pain killers for bone pain in her leg and needed to wear a brace, but I have never heard her complain. She is always smiling, outgoing, and optimistic. Most of all, she has ambitions and dreams and plans to squeeze all she can from this life while helping others!
“Cancer made me stronger.
It made me want to fight
to be a doctor to help other kids like me”
Abby is homeschooled, and she is motivated! She fully intends to be a doctor someday, and she is on her way to making that happen. She is the only 14-year-old I know that reads medical textbooks, lobbies car lots to use gold balloons for pediatric cancer research, makes speeches at the legislature, and hosts huge fundraisers each year to donate to pediatric cancer research. Her family supports her dreams, but these initiatives are all her doing!
What Can You Do To Help?
- Reading this blog is a great start! Thank you for taking the first step today!
- Learn more! Cancer has many faces – pediatric cancer is one that we do not hear of often! Here is a great video about research to get you started.
- Donate to Childhood Cancer Research! For many types of cancer, there is not enough research for a treatment plan for children; children have the exact same treatment as adults and that can be hazardous. Medications react differently in growing bodies than they do in mature ones.
There Are Heroes Among Us.