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Inspired by the spirit of one child’s fight with cancer, a community of friends has come together to help spread awareness and to support families facing similar battles. The Butterfly Walk and Fun Festival will bring together people and businesses who want to share in the celebration of love and support of children. Similar to how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly, that transformation is symbolic of a child’s development into an adult. This is something not all children with cancer have the chance to experience. But together, we can make a difference. Every day physicians are fighting to help children with cancer live another day. Curing childhood cancer is not a battle won overnight. But with the support of people like YOU, together we can help further the research towards treating and curing this disease, forever.
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hannabutterflyresize.jpgHanna was a happy, healthy 2 ½ year old girl until she complained of back pain one day. Two days later she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in the nervous system in embryo. After only seven short months, many surgeries, and 6 rounds of chemotherapy, Hanna lost her battle with this disease on Father’s Day 2006. Although she is gone from this earth, her spirit lives on in all of us who choose to come together for the Butterfly Walk. We can only hope that with further research funding, children like Hanna will have a better chance for a cure in the future. Hanna showed us all how to fight a battle, how to be courageous, and how to dream. Now it’s our turn.

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Alora was diagnosed with a cyst in the brain at the age of 4, we were told to have scans every 6 months to watch it but not to worry. Our journey changed from no reason to worry to very scary second scan revealing the cyst was now twice the size and was no longer a cyst but a lesion. We had visits to the Neurosurgeon within the month, to find out it was in a pretty ‘good’ spot and we were told that we would watch it to see how it grows. Her next scan showed growth and it was decided to get it removed before it became any bigger. Alora wanted to name her lesion, so it became peanut (which is how the doctor described its size). In July 2011 we had the longest day of our lives Brain Surgery. Our amazing neurosurgeon spent so much time and dedication to ensure he was able to remove all of ‘peanut’ with clean margins. It took a few times of thinking it was all out to have a scan while in surgery to see they needed to take just a bit more to be sure they got it all!!!! They got it all and we started recovery…Alora is one of the bravest most amazing children I have ever seen. She was home from brain surgery in 3 days and on the road to recovery. We found out that she had Stage 1 cancer, Peanut was now being called a Pilocytic Astrocytoma but we got some of the best news, she would be able to continue without radiation or chemotherapy since the neurosurgeon had gotten the entire tumor out with clean margins! We were amazed and so thankful! Our lives changed in so many ways but we are so happy for all the good that has come from this unfortunate event. We are so grateful for the doctors and research that was done to ensure our little girls had a positive outcome. Children are brave and resilient and CancerFree kids is an amazing organization that gives children with a tougher road some amazing stops along the way.  A cure is on the horizon. 

Corey was a very happy-go-lucky little boy who loved everyone and loved to make people smile. In early 2007, at 2½ years old, he was fighting what everyone thought was a typical toddler cold/sinus infection with swollen glands. After about a week of antibiotics with no improvement, and the "lymph glands" getting larger, he was sent to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a biopsy of the lump behind his ear. On Feb. 2, 2007, the results of the biopsy found that it was not a swollen lymph gland, but in fact was a cancerous tumor. Later that day, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, an aggressive and very deadly childhood cancer.He endured 7 rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, a stem cell transplant that put him in the ICU and on dialysis for a period of time, several weeks of radiation and another several rounds of chemotherapy. In April of 2008, he was NED (no evidence of disease).Then, in October 2008, he relapsed with a new tumor behind his ear. Once again, he went through more chemotherapy and radiation. In January 2009, the tumor in his head was gone, but now there was a small tumor on his right femur. More radiation and chemotherapy were given. On March 13, 2009, he was once again tumor free and NED.Corey continued with oral chemotherapy trying to prevent another relapse. Unfortunately in mid-April of 2009, Corey relapsed again; this time with tumors throughout his entire skeletal system and on his liver. Corey fought a courageous fight for more than 2 years – and rarely complained about any of it. (We adults could learn a thing or two from Corey!!) Unfortunately, the cancer was too aggressive to fight and on May 8, 2009, just a month before of his 5th birthday, Corey lost his battle and earned his angel wings. We miss him dearly! We walk in memory of Corey to raise funding for further cancer research so that no other children or their families have to go through this.

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Shayna was a bundle of red velvet on her very first Christmas Eve when we noticed that something didn’t look right in her eye. A week later she would have her eye removed to prevent cancer from spreading to her brain and begin chemotherapy for the tumors in her remaining eye. Nothing prepares you for that. After many months of treatment and a new prosthetic eye, she has now been cancer-free for 17 years. We say she is one of the "lucky ones", but it has nothing to do with luck. Shayna’s treatment was successful because of research. Determined that no child should have their childhood interrupted or cut short by cancer, our family started CancerFree KIDS to fund the critical research that is necessary for every child to be guaranteed a cure. This research benefits not only children, but all of us. Those participating in the walk understand how important it is. We thank you for your support!

To celebrate 10 years of being cancer-free, Shayna started her own fundraising project to raise money for research. She created beaded bracelets that feature a pendant with the word "COURAGE" that are various events and on the CancerFree KIDS website. Shayna funded a research grant entirely with these funds!

2012gallery/SWWcharlie.JPG Charlie was diagnosed with AML, Acute Myloid Leukemia, at age 16 months on January 30, 2006. This specific type of cancer is common in children with Down syndrome. After Charlie's first round of chemotherapy, we were extremely blessed as he went into remission. Charlie underwent a total of 8 rounds of chemotherapy accompanied by month-long hospital stays to be sure the cancer was gone for good. We are happy to say that Charlie hit a very big milestone this past June and was moved into the Long Term Care Program at Cincinnati Children's. (This means once a year visits; no more long clinic visits!) Charlie is thriving and healthy and enjoys playing baseball, soccer, swimming, and playing with his friends at school and his very best friend, his sister, Madison. We met Hanna and her family during Charlie's treatment and Hanna was such a great friend to Charlie. We couldn't be happier continuing our participation in this walk to honor her memory and support such a wonderful organization.

2010mary.jpgLike Hanna, Mary was just 2 ½ years old when she was diagnosed with a high grade, non-specified, infant brain tumor on March 8, 2006. Four days later, surgeons at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital removed a baseball size tumor from her right front lobe. Here began Mary’s journey. In the months that followed, Mary was given four rounds of chemotherapy, aggressive radiation treatments, and an eight month regime of maintenance chemo. By the Grace of God, her last MRI on December 14, 2009, showed no changes and no return of cancer. Prayers from hundreds of friends and family had been answered. In 2016, Mary's cancer returned and we traveled to Boston for surgery in the summer.  She is now doing well overall, but it has been a long process with extra therapies, challenges, etc, but, Mary is resilient and overcoming them.  We have hope as each day passes that Mary’s story will have a happy ending, that she will be a lifelong cancer survivor. The Butterfly Walk is an opportunity for Mary’s family and friends to show their support for Mary, and the ongoing cancer research sponsored by Cancer Free KIDS. Mary is a survivior because of outstanding care she has received and the research that continues at Cincinnati Children’s. Please consider joining Mary for the walk this year; she was thrilled to have family and friends by her side last year. We will continue to support Mary, research efforts, and the hospital with strength, hope, courage and faith in our hearts.
 
2017gallery/parker.jpgParker was 10 weeks old when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma on February 4th, 2005. He was a fussy baby that you just couldn’t seem to make comfortable. We found out later that he had tumors in both adrenal glands, his liver; near his spinal cord and that it had spread to his bone and bone marrow. 6 days after being admitted to the hospital Parker started an intense research protocol at Cincinnati Children’s which consisted of 8 rounds of chemotherapy. Six long months of injections, treatments and trips to Children’s and we are happy to say Parker is a Cancerfree KID! Parker is now followed in the ATP long term survivor’s clinic at Cincinnati Children’s. He is monitored now more for the effects of the chemotherapy he received and less for the disease itself. We feel very blessed to have had the researchers at Cincinnati Children’s who worked so hard to save our child. We are very grateful to them and their hard work. Without events like the Butterfly Walk, CancerFree KIDS would not be able to offer grants to these outstanding individuals who work hard every day to save one more child. 


2017gallery/tonymerk.jpgOn July 4, 2011, our sweet 6-year-old son/brother, Tony, left this earth and is now experiencing the joys of eternal life in Heaven. In October 2008, at the age of 3, Tony was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain cancer. He underwent surgery, 31 radiation treatments, and intense high-dose chemotherapy (followed by stem cell rescue). Tony experienced about a year of clean scans, but relapsed in June 2010. After another year of various chemotherapy treatments and two surgeries, Tony succumbed to the disease. We are heartbroken, but are focusing upon treasuring every moment of this life just as Tony did. He had a zest and joy for life that was infectious. Despite the hardships Tony faced, he rarely complained or cried. He attended school every day he was able. He enjoyed playing t-ball and soccer. He loved spending time with his three big brothers. By his example, Tony showed many what it means to be strong and faithful. "Pray~Hope~Believe" became the theme for Tony's journey and remains our theme for healing and living life

Natalie's journey began on April 22, 2011 when she was three years old and was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor on both kidneys. She endured chemo treatments, losing both kidneys, other miscellaneous surgeries and daily dialysis treatments through her journey.  On October 9, 2012 she received a kidney transplant from her Great Aunt and has been doing amazing ever since.  She is now enjoying life as a "normal" almost six year old and we couldn't be more grateful.  We're so proud to be a part of the Butterfly Walk!

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Our journey began on April 6, 2011, after several months of nosebleeds, fatigue, paleness and finally a blood test that revealed something was very, very wrong. We were sent to Children’s for more testing and it was finally found that Maya had a more rare type of leukemia, called Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). AML is tougher to treat than it’s more common counterpart, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In addition, Maya’s leukemia has a genetic anomaly that makes it even more of a challenge to treat. Maya is a feisty ten year old who fought HARD and beat leukemia twice over three gruling years of treatment and two bone marrow transplants.  Maya is now fighting for her life for a THIRD time.  Maya is a tough, strong girl, but no child should EVER have to fight as hard as she's had to and endured the nightmare that she is going through. Please help fund research so that NO more children will be told that they have cancer... EVER AGAIN!

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Two-year-old Becca was originally diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) in October of 2008, went through a grueling three years of treatment, and then was diagnosed with therapy-related leukemia (AML) in April of 2012 at the age of five.  She again endured intense chemotherapy then received a life-saving bone marrow transplant in July of 2012, returning to school in April of 2013. Now ten years old, we continue to celebrate Becca's strength, courage, and resilience.

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Timothy created Team A&W in memory of his two cub scout friends, who died in 2011 as a result of cancer related complications.  Arun and Wyatt were 11 years old.  Let's beat cancer one step at a time.  Go Team A&W!!

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liz.JPGOctober 25, 2008, Elizabeth Lothrop, 14 year old, was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Liz was currently finishing out her volleyball season for Mason Middle School. Lizzy was very active and was never sick. She played Basketball for Mason and played AAU ball, she played Volleyball for her school too as well as Junior Olympic Volleyball for Sports Express, and ran track for Mason. Lizzy's back started hurting her the last two weeks of volleyball season; we took her to see an Orthopedic specialist who confirmed she had a fracture in her lower spin. Liz had a pars injection four days later in her lower spine and four days after that she spiked a fever of 103 and a massive nose bleed that took 28 min. to stop. We took her to Children's at 10 pm and by 4:30 am we were told that she had cancer; all of this took place within a five week period. It has been a battle since but cancer picked the wrong person this time. Liz is a true fighter and has an infectious spirit. Lizzy has just started the Maintenance Phase of her treatment and will continue on this course until her last chemo treatment on Feb. 17, 2011. She has endured weekly heavy chemos, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, very long hospital stays, severe side effects of chemo, and complete hair loss twice, but has remained faithful to God, family, and friends.  Lizzy was in remission until June 2015 when the doctors found she had a brain tumor.  After surgeries, radiation and chemo, Liz lost her battle in May, 2016. Because of the prayers and financial support we know that one day there will be a cure. Lizzy's wish is that they find an easier treatment protocol for people with cancer and of course, THE CURE!

2012photos/SWWjoel.jpgIn January 2009, just one month before Joel was due to be born, Susie and Adam found out on a routine ultrasound that their baby Joel had a tumor above his left adrenal gland. Susie was put through a lot of testing to get a handle on what was going on with Joel so the doctors would know what to do when he was born. He was born two weeks early on January 26th. Due to the size of the tumor and it pressing on his lungs, he had breathing issues and was immediately taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital RCNIC where he then stayed for the next four months. At 8 days old he had his first surgery to biopsy the tumor and remove a lymph node in question. He was later diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma that had spread to that lymph node and also to his liver. He required a central line to be placed and at just 10 days old, Joel began his first round of chemotherapy and did a total of five rounds in the time he was in the hospital. Joel also had pyloric stenosis where the pyloris that drains the stomach into the intestines thickens making it difficult for food to pass. Joel's was so thick that it was practically closed, so he vomitted every time he fed. He required surgery on that too. Halfway through the five rounds of chemo, a PET scan showed that the tumor had shrunk enough to now be removed, to then be followed up with additional chemo. So his next surgery was for the tumor resection and to repair his pyloris. After four months in the RCNIC, 6 surgical procedures and 5 rounds of chemo, Joel came home on his four month birthday. Joel has now been cancer free since June 2009! He is a very busy little boy who loves getting into everything he can, playing with his big brother, singing and dancing, doing puzzles, playing outside and just being with his family. Joel is our miracle boy. We have seen what God can do, and the amazing results that come from research to provide a way for our little boy to live a long, healthy life. Our prayer is that other children can recover as well as Joel has and provide a way for other children to become cancer free.

2012photos/SWWGracie.jpgGracie was just 7 months old when she was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) in February of 2007. Doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital found a tumor the size of a softball in her liver. She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. In May of 2007 she had surgery to remove the tumor followed by two more rounds of chemotherapy. Gracie has been in remission since August of 2007. Today Gracie is a happy, healthy and is enjoying every minute of life. We owe this outcome to the support, prayers, and research of many people. Organizations like Cancerfree KIDS and Cincinnati Children's Hospital do amazing things for children battling cancer. We are one of the lucky families who benefited from their research and hard work. We are honored to be a part of the Butterfly Walk and look forward to helping fight pediatric cancer.
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2011gallery/jessica.jpgJessica Michaela Elam was just a normal 7 year old girl when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor on October 29, 2001. This rare cancerous tumor called EPENDYMOMA (type of cancer that only affects the Central Nervous System (brain or spine)) was successfully removed 3 days later and was followed by radiation. Jessica survived and she was having the time of her life when not 2 years later, on September 25, 2003, she was diagnosed with a recurrence, but this time we were dealing with a spinal tumor. The doctors proceeded with radiation that shrunk the tumor about 25% and another successful surgery followed - the whole tumor was removed and we didn’t have any complications. This was followed by chemotherapy and what we thought was the worst 4 months of Jessica’s life. Jessica survived and we really thought that we had this cancer kicked when another spot was detected on March 9th, 2006. We were very fortunate that we caught this early, but the location of this one in the brain (near the main artery of the brain) was very critical. Radiation was really our only option to give us any hope. This treatment had seemed to work except for the fact that her brain started to swell 5 months later. Steroids followed to reduce the brain swelling along with some setbacks it caused but this strong willed girl just wasn’t about to give up. Jessica survived and then for the fourth time in six years they found another spot on her spine on August 22, 2007. This tumor again was irremovable (in a location housing all the leg, kidney and bowel functions) and the doctors’ only choice was to proceed with yet another set of radiation. Jessica survived. In September 2008, just shortly after her 14th birthday, during routine scans, they found another nodule in her brain. We opted for radiation--the radiostatic surgery for her treatment. This went over a 5 day period in October. After that was over, she started the oral chemo. Her hair has started falling but body tolerating it well and she was still going to school. When Christmas break was almost over, so was Jessica's blood counts. As of January 2009, she has been off of chemo for about 2 weeks but her blood counts are still declining. Her faith and determination to get her story out there is strong. Her faith in God has made her stronger and even more eager to help find a cure for this awful disease. Jessica's fight continued for another 5 years.  She was in and out of the hospital, endured more chemo, radiation and surgeries than any human, let alone child, should ever endure.  Through it all, Jessica never lost her faith and never stopped fighting.  She was able to go to her prom, graduate highschool and see her 18th birthday all because of ongoing research that organizations like CancerFree KIDS provide funding for. Jessica lost her battle in January of 2015 but her light continues to shine.  Her hope was to help prevent anyone else from having to encounter the lifestyle of a cancer patient at such a young age.

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Hi! My name is Hannah and on May 25, 2012 I will celebrate my 5th year of being CANCER FREE! I was told I had a rare form of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) when I was 2 years old. Due to research, the doctors knew right away that my only treatment option was to have a bone marrow transplant. I received my new bone marrow cells on May 25, 2007! Treatment, transplant, and recovery was a very difficult journey, but this year, I will be celebrating 10 years CancerFREE!  My family and I are thankful to God for providing us with wonderful medical care, and for the research and technology that enabled me to receive my transplant and help save my life. We are also thankful for all the people who support pediatric cancer research. Without your donations, life saving research, which has helped me and many other children, wouldn't happen. So I hope you will join me in walking and/or donating to this year's Butterfly Walk and help more children be cancer free. 

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Hello Everyone! My name is Roman Michael Fariello. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, N-myc non-amplified, on April 25th 2007 at the age of 18 months. I had surgery 2 days after diagnosis for a tumor on my right adrenal gland. Luckily it was small enough to be completely removed. The cancer had already spread above my right eye and also in my bone marrow. My eye was very swollen and looked like I got punched. I had a central line put in and had six rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell harvest, numerous scans and tests, and blood and platelet transfusions. Far too many to count. I then had a seventh round of high dose chemo to knock out my bone marrow for a transplant I had on Oct. 17th, 2007. Then, in Jan. 2008, I went thru 12 rounds of radiation to the original tumor site in my tummy. I started oral chemo (accutane) in Feb.2008 I had alot of trouble with the accutane because of my triglycerides being high. I only completed 5 rounds at half the dose. I also suffered eye pain and pressure and severe headaches from it. It has been a very long journey for my family and I since I was diagnosed. I am seen once a year now at the Survivor Clinic for a complete head to toe physical, bloodwork and a heart echocardiogram to check for chemo damage. Everyday is a never-ending fear for my life as we hope and pray Neuroblastoma stays far away from me forever. Thanks so much for your love and support for me and my family!

 


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In January of 2009, at the age of 9, Leah was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. After 7 months in the hospital, 4 rounds of intense chemotherapy, an appendectomy, a lung biopsy, countless blood and platelet transfusions, and 3 trips to the ICU, Leah was released from Children's hospital, cancer free. Leah is now 8 years cancer free and is considered cured. She is about to graduate from Loveland High School and is headed to the University of Kentucky next year where she will major in chemistry to pursue a career as a pharmacist. 

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Kayleigh was a normal 8yr old red head in the 3rd grade. She started having trouble with balance and coordination issues. This went on about two/three months. We just thought she was clumsy and hyper. Till it progressively got worse. Watching her walk was bizarre. So I finally got her checked out. Her pediatrician sent us to a neurologist, who then wanted an MRI of her brain and spine. He told us to take the first available appointment that Childrens's hospital had available. We knew it was bad. The next evening was her MRI.. that's when they found a mass on her brain in the cerebellum(back of the head). We were devastated, and heartbroken for her. All we wanted to do was take it away and put it in one of us. I felt like I would die if I could in order for her to not have to endure what she was about to go through. The good news was that it was operable and there was no sign of disease in her spine. She was admitted into ICU, put on steroids to shrink the tumor, and three days later they removed it.. all of it. We were so happy they got that monster out of her head. But they did confirm cancer. Her treatment plan was surgery, radiation, chemo. So she recovered after one month, then endured 36 treatments of radiation therapy, had a month off, then 9 cycles of chemo therapy. The surgery damaged her optic muscles so she had two surgeries to repair her eye muscles. They are not 100%, but better. She wears hearing aids now due to the damage from the chemo(poison). They removed one of her ovaries to preserve it for fertilization later on in life when she's ready to have children because the poison damages reproductive organs as well. She has been through a lot. And still going through the aftermath that therapy did to her body and cognitive abilities. She is 11 now, and getting checked every 4 months. Every time they tell us her MRI is stable with no sign of disease, we can breath a little easier till the next one. It could always come back. You just never know. It's terrifying. And our fears are now realized because as of April, 1, 2017, Kayleigh has now been diagnosed with Leukemia. A new battle begins.

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When Evan was just 15 months old he was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer in both eyes.  He underwent surgery, six months of chemotherapy, and many hospital stays.  Evan went under anesthesia every couple months to ensure the tumors were gone. Because he was always so calm during these scary times, at age four, he was one of the youngest patients to undergo MRIs and these eye procedures without anesthesia.  He is still continually checked and was deemed cancer-free on his fifth birthday!  Much like Thomas, his favorite train, Evan always believed that you could be scared and brave at the same time.  He is the bravest kid we know!

2012gallery/SWWmaddiecrop.jpgIn the fall of 2003 Madelyn was an active 2 year old girl that could not wait until her 3rd birthday was here. After 2 weeks of being treated for an upper respiratory infection and not seeing any change, we were sent to Middletown Hospital for a routine x-ray to rule out pneumonia. From the look on the nurses face I could tell that something was seriously wrong with our little girl. We went immediately down to Cincinnati Children's Hospital to get a CAT scan to figure out what was wrong. Monday, October 6, 2003 we were admitted to Children's Hospital and sent to the ICU floor. On Wednesday, October 8th Maddie had her first of many surgeries and we were told the news that no parent should hear. Madelyn's chest was full of some sort of cancer that had erupted and at that point could be anywhere in her little body. She had 1/3 of her right lung removed and had a central line placed due to the apparent chemotherapy treatments which lay ahead. Maddie was finally diagnosed with Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB) which is a rare childhood cancer that attaches to the lung. With me having had a childhood cancer called Wilms Tumor when I was 4 years old, we were fortunate enough to have the same wonderful doctor that I continued to see take Maddie's case. From the start we knew that the road ahead was going to be difficult but once we got into the treatments no one could prepare us for the ups and downs which you go through. The "PLAN" was to have 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 12 days of radiation. It amazed me how nothing seemed to go by the "PLAN." In November, after Maddie's second round of chemo we were admitted to the hospital for a high fever and extremely low blood counts. During this stay Maddie had a chemotherapy induced seizure which only happens to a small percentage of children. Due to the intensity of the seizure we were taken to the ICU to be monitored. A feeding tube was also placed in Maddie's nose that went directly into her stomach due to the weight she continued to lose. In December after a routine ECHO/EKG test she was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta. On December 8th Maddie had a heart procedure which helped open up her artery because of its limited size. After her December chemo treatment we were admitted at 3am on Christmas morning due to another high fever. In January things continued not to follow the "PLAN." After her January treatments and once again being admitted for a fever and low counts, we realized if we did not lower the dosage of the chemotherapy treatments Maddie was not going to survive. We were hospitalized for 3 1/2 weeks and our doctor decided to lower her dosage to 50% due to the damage it was doing to her little body. In March she had 12 rounds of radiation that required her to be sedated for 12 straight days to receive her treatments. At the end of March, during a routine scan we were told something was growing in the same location of the lung where the original cancer was thought to have developed. After a failed attempt to get a sample from a biopsy the decision was made to go in and remove the growth through surgery. One week after Madelyn's baby sister Emma was born she had surgery. Due to our prayers being answered, it was not a recurrence of the cancer, just irritated scar tissue from the radiation treatments. Madelyn finished her last round of treatment in September of 2004. We all learned early on that Madelyn was not going to follow anyone else's "PLAN" but her own. Courage,determination, and a lot of prayers is what got Maddie through that year. In June of 2007 Madelyn had been blessed with having been off treatment for over 2 1/2 years and was feeling great. She was enjoying her summer break and looking forward to starting her 1st grade year of school. With scans now being scheduled every 4 months since we had hit what we thought was the magic number of 2 years off of treatment, we received the news that we thought we would never have to hear. On June 19th, 2 days after our annual "Relay for Life" event during her routine scans we were told that something was growing where the original tumor had started. She once again had surgery which confirmed that the original cancer had reoccurred. Maddie's "PLAN" is to have 4 rounds of chemotherapy, 23 days of radiation, and a stem cell transplant that will keep her in the hospital for at least 4-6 weeks straight. We learned from the first treatment that Maddie only follows her own PLAN." What we do know is that Maddie is a amazing little girl and with her strength and a lot of prayers she will make it through this and be CANCER FREE!

AvaRedwine.jpgOn June 30th, 2009, when Ava was just 3 years old, our lives changed forever. After a night of crying over a tummy ache, followed by vomiting, Ava saw her pediatrician who sent her for an x-ray to see if she had severe constipation, to rule out appendicitis or something more serious. We went straight to Cincinnati Children's. After the x-ray was read, calcifications were found near her right adrenal gland. (A great catch based on comments from her oncologist and surgeons.) Ava then had an ultrasound that confirmed Ava had a mass, thought to be Neuroblastoma...a malignant tumor. Cancer. Wow..a presumed virus, with symptoms only lasting two days, brought us to discover this heartbreak. We can only think that this was a sign from God to catch this before it had more time to spread. On July 10th, 2009 Ava had a very complicated abdominal surgery to remove the tumor that was growing from her sympathetic chain (part of the sympathetic nervous system). About 99% of the tumor was removed, while the remaining sliver attached to her aorta had to be left behind. Two lymph nodes that were near the original tumor were removed and one was confirmed to be diseased. Ava was staged 2B. Neuroblastoma is typically discovered after it has progressed significantly. Confirming our belief in a Godly intervention. In October 2009, Ava suffered from severe abdominal pain and vomiting for three weeks while under observation and going through many tests. On November 5th, 2009 she underwent another abdominal surgery and several adhesions were found that had formed after her first surgery, one being the culprit of a bowel perforation, which eventually grew around the bowel twisting it, causing a bowel obstruction. During this surgery she had a small section of her bowel removed. Ava has now recovered from this surgery and has started to gain some of the weight back that she has lost. We are very fortunate that at this point Ava has not had to undergo any chemotherapy or radiation therapy. She is under very close observation with labs monthly and scans every 2-3 months. We are looking forward to the walk this year and thank everyone for their support of the event. We appreciate the continued prayers for Ava and all of the kids who continue to battle this horrific disease and for the doctors and nurses who care for them.

2011gallery/aaron.jpgIn September of 2009, our 2 year old son, Aaron was diagnosed with High Risk Neuroblastoma. Since then he has endured 18 months of grueling treatments including 6 rounds of high dose chemo, 2 bone marrow transplants, 2 tumor resections, 20 days of radiation, and 6 months of immunotherapy. Through all of this he has endured countless infections, viruses, unbearable pain and even septic shock. And you know what? He's still so happy! Our children deserve the best we can give them, we can do more about pediatric cancer than the world is doing.