I Clip Because...

Kids can't fight cancer alone

Holt

This is Holt. He is 5 years old and is being treated at Norton Children’s Hospital for Ewing’s sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer that typically occurs in children and young adults. 

Two days before Holt's 5-year-old checkup, he complained of arm pain. We dismissed it as soreness from swim team practice. Andrew M. Donovan, M.D., his physician at Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Middletown, felt like Holt needed an X-ray, just to be sure. That Friday night we got the call to come downtown immediately. We were admitted to 7 West. It was a blur over the next few days — everything happened so fast, I felt like I went into shock.

On May 22, my son was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. I couldn't eat; I couldn't sleep. Our nurse the night Holt was diagnosed was Karrie Walp, R.N. I will never forget that night, ever. She told me I have to eat after today, and I have to sleep after today. But for tonight, just cry. She said, “When you wake up tomorrow, begin taking care of you so you can take care of your son.” 

The nurses, Child Life and music and art therapy have been amazing support services during the many days my son is an inpatient. The staff has been the best family we never wanted to be a part of. 

–Katie Alexander, Holt’s mom

Together, we can end childhood cancer

Mya

This is Mya. She was born in China, and as an infant was found abandoned in a park. Doctors discovered she had a tumor in her pelvis, and she was placed in an orphanage.

Medical records show the tumor grew rapidly. The orphanage sought assistance from a local special care unit. Our paths intersected when the care unit’s sponsor, Show Hope: A Movement to Care for Orphans, posted about Mya on its website. On March 1, 2013, we saw the prayer request for Mya to find a forever family and healing, despite a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.

We immediately fell in love with Mya and realized we had everything she needed. We reached out to start the adoption process, but doctors said she would not live as long as the adoption would take. We contacted Norton Children’s Hospital, which agreed to assume Mya’s care. This enabled Mya to get a medical visa, and she arrived in Louisville on May 7, 2013.

One day later, Mya was admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital for the first of many hospitalizations over the following 10 months. Ultimately, she underwent two 10-hour surgeries to remove all of the cancer. We truly felt at home in the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center at Norton Children’s Hospital and called it our “home away from home.”

It has been two years since the end of Mya’s treatment for stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma. She remains cancer-free and is a typical toddler. We are so grateful that we live in a city where treatment for pediatric cancer is available!

–Shelly White, Mya’s mom

To read Mya's full story, click here.

Cancer can't stop hope 

Addison

This is Addison. She was diagnosed with leukemia on March 5, 2012, at 4 months old. She spent the next 11 months at Norton Children’s Hospital undergoing chemotherapy treatments, radiation and three bone marrow transplants. Addison went into remission and was discharged from Norton Children’s Hospital in February 2013. She spent the next eight months living life to the fullest at home with her family.

 In October 2013, Addison’s family was devastated to learn the leukemia had returned. Addison celebrated her second birthday at Norton Children’s Hospital undergoing more chemotherapy treatments. Her family learned the chemo wasn’t working and she was too weak for a fourth bone marrow transplant. Addison went on her wish trip to Walt Disney World in November 2013, but it ended early when the “Just for Kids” Transport Team was called to Orlando, Florida, and returned her to Norton Children’s Hospital. Addison passed peacefully with her family, friends and the hospital’s extended family around her.

Addison’s parents feel it’s important to support Norton Children’s Hospital and Chili’s Clip for Kids, because all of the funds raised stay in our community. "Norton Children’s Hospital has so many great programs for cancer patients and their families, including art therapy projects, baking, music therapy, monthly sibling meetings and other child life therapy services,” said Daniel and Rachel Miles. “We are immensely grateful to Norton Children’s Hospital and encourage your participation and donations to support kids with cancer." 

I can make a difference

Peyton

This is Peyton. When your child isn’t feeling well, taking him to the doctor for medicine and a doctor’s note is what any parent expects. For me, it was quite a different experience when we took Peyton  to the doctor for a low-grade fever. Instead, our doctor referred Peyton to Norton Children’s Hospital for a blood transfusion. I knew something was wrong. After an evening of tests and questions, Peyton, who was a perfectly healthy 8-year-old until this point, was admitted to the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center. The following morning, our family was given the diagnosis: leukemia. When we delivered the news to Peyton that he had cancer, his response was, “You mean like the bracelets people wear?” That day — May 25, 2012 — was etched in our minds forever. Peyton is now 11. He has endured three surgeries, bone marrow aspirations, countless lumbar punctures to receive chemotherapy around his brain, thousands of pokes, at least 10 different chemotherapy treatments and has lost his hair twice. Thankfully, the loving nurses and staff at Norton Children’s Hospital have made this process easier. Peyton actually loves going to Norton Children’s Hospital because it has become his second home.

Having Norton Children’s Hospital, one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country, right here in our community is something that cannot be taken for granted. Peyton now has a chance at life! Thank you, Norton Children’s Hospital! 

–Michelle Abernathy, Peyton’s mom

Cancer shouldn’t interfere with childhood

Logan

This is Logan. On Friday, June 6, 2014, our silence was broken with the words “acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”

Our worst fear was a reality. In a small exam room downtown, Logan sat looking out the window for ambulances, oblivious that his normal life was over. Soon we were whisked through a maze of hallways and skywalks. When the elevator doors opened and I read “Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center” on the wall, my knees buckled.

My wife, Laura, built Logan a fort made of hospital sheets — no medicine or doctors were allowed in. I think Laura and I wanted to crawl in more than he did. How do you tell a 3-year-old he has cancer? We never made it that far. We just kept reinforcing that these people are here to help you.

His acute leukemia was met with acute treatment. Every blood cell in his body was to be destroyed. For two weeks we stayed at Norton Children’s Hospital. I was so proud of Logan while he was on 7 West. He was a light in a dark hallway, dragging his IV pump around like it was his friend. Doctors, nurses and even the cleaning crew loved seeing Logan high-stepping the hallways of a wing where parents often were spotted crying in the coffee room.

Logan is in remission now! He recently finished a three-year treatment plan that consisted of more pills, port accesses and blood tests than we care to count. We are so excited that Logan may now realize a normal life of a 7-year-old.

–Josh Collins, Logan’s dad

To read more of Logan’s story, click here.

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