childhood cancer, Pediatric Cancer, Warrior Of The Week

Cancer Warrior, Callie June

Fourth and Gold highlights a cancer warrior that has bravely and fiercely stood strong against childhood cancer. At Fourth and Gold, we want you to see the faces behind our drive and connect with them in a way you wouldn’t have been able to if you didn’t take the stand to demand #MoreThan4. These Fourth and Gold warriors have cancer, but cancer does not have them.

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Callie, diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma* at 17 months of age

Current Age: 20 months (DOB 7/18/17)

Events that led up to Callie’s Diagnosis: Because Callie is usually full of energy, loves to eat and loves to play, it became obvious to her parents that when her appetite was decreasing, that she wasn’t drinking like she normally would and she was becoming increasingly lethargic that something was wrong. Callie is typically a very energetic little girl who absolutely loves playtime, running around the house and being in her playroom. Shortly after the appetite decreased, Callie quit wanting to play. Her parents took her to the pediatrician and like many other cases, Callie was misdiagnosed with a viral infection and the start of an ear infection. When Callie’s parents did not see any improvement on the medication she was prescribed and noticed belly swelling, they trusted their mommy instincts and brought her to the ED where they later learned of her life altering diagnosis.

Favorite Things: Callie loves her tablet and she loves watching Word Party on Netflix! Her blankets have become her security and she always points to her blanket to be covered up. Callie loves when she gets visitors and playing peek-a-boo. One of Callie’s favorite toys is her peek-a-boo elephant that she received from a supporter on her social media page!

Favorite Foods: Currently, Callie is receiving IV (TPN/Lipids) and tube feeding nutrition, but when she’s feeling good, her appetite cannot be matched! Callie loves her mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit cocktail, cheese roll ups, mac n cheese, gerber puffs, apple juice, and donuts. Callie, can we come have a picnic with you?!

Typical Day Looks Like: Before Callie was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, she had a fun routine at home with her family. In the morning, mom would get her from her room for breakfast where Callie would eat anything from scrambled eggs to pancakes. Next up, playtime! Because, hello, 17 months and all we do is play! 🙂 Callie loves snuggling up to watch Word Party, Minnie’s boutique, Fancy Nancy, and Vampirina. Callie is a fun, spunky little girl so relaxing only lasted so long 🙂 She loves use imaginative play with her little people princess toys and castle, playing peek-a-boo and tag and singing and dancing! Callie would then take her afternoon nap from 12pm-2pm where she would wake up full of energy, ready for some running around and climbing on to the couch. After a full day of fun, Callie would end the night with one of her favorites: bath time. Her sweet little night time routine consists of her nightlight that plays a melody and is voice activated, so Callie loves to turn it on by saying “ahh.” Sweet little one would fall asleep blowing kisses, preparing her little body for the next day of fun, as a 17 month old should.

Typical day while she’s in the hospital: Shortly after Callie wakes up in the hospital and starts getting ready for the day, she often gets sick resulting in multiple outfit changes. When her tummy settles down, Callie channels her inner playful self and loves getting behind the curtains to play peek-a-boo .Tuesday’s and Thursday’s she gets to go to the gym and play, and to try and protect some sort of normalcy, Callie still naps from 12p-2p. She still loves watching some of her favorite movies: Moana, Frozen, Trolls, and Finding Dory. Callie and her family love singing and dancing, even in the hospital. Instead of bath time, one of Callie’s favorite routines, Callie gets wiped down nightly with hospital wipes. To fall asleep, her and her mom play ‘relax with a video’ which is a channel to watch nature with music and they fall asleep around 8:30pm

If you know Callie you know that she: Is so resilient and so playful! You know that she always bounces back and she’s a true fighter. Callie is SO sweet, blows kisses and loves to cuddle.

What you cannot see here is that Callie has undergone:

  • Biopsy on her massive tumor in her abdomen
  • Bone marrow aspirations
  • Blood and platelet transfusions (Donate blood!!)
  • Central line placed then removed because of a blood infection. A picc line was put in place and the central line was replaced later
  • Ovarian extraction to preserve it for later so she can decide if she wants children later in life
  • 5 rough cycles of chemo
  • 90% tumor extraction, which she was given an epidural for pain management
  • Many rounds of antibiotics
  • In 3 short (but long) months, Callie has gone from living a fun, spunky 17 month old life to daily vomiting, losing her hair, surgeries, pokes, separation and many other things no CHILD should EVER endure

Callie’s mom, Albree, on the hardest part about having a child with cancer: “Seeing them in pain and miserable”

One thing you wish people knew about childhood cancer: “It’s blood transfusions, a lot of vomiting, and sleepless nights. It’s rough on the whole family. It flips your whole world upside down. We live in the hospital and our family is split completely in half.”

How has childhood cancer impacted your lives the most: “By splitting our family in half. My wife stays home and works while carrying for our son Tyler (age 7). As I stay in the hospital full time with Callie having to quit my 3 jobs.”

To follow Callie’s journey through her battle with neuroblastoma: Callie Strong, Tiny But Mighty

———————————————————————————————————————-Sweet little Callie and her families lives changed drastically 3 months ago and they’re facing a battle never meant for a child. Callie went from spending mornings with her family, to waking up to nurses who she now sees more than her family. In fact, as I write this, Callie is in the ICU battling fevers and elevated heart rates. The moment the diagnosis of childhood cancer is given to a child, they immediately start an uphill battle. We introduce you to warriors like Callie because we want you to understand that unlike adult cancers who receive 96% of all research funding, childhood cancer research receives a measly 3.8%. WHY? Because it is considered “RARE”, yet 43 children per day or 15,780 children per year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer and since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer (National Pediatric Cancer Foundation).
Callie is resilient. She is brave and fierce and she is STRONGER than cancer, but Callie and her fellow warriors also need our help. Closing the gap on research funding is so crucial to get children better treatment options. Treatments for children with cancer are limited and can be very devastating. Many parents will tell you that the treatment is so outdated and harsh that it has, or almost has, killed their children while killing their cancer.

We’d love for you to help us close this gap between pharmaceutical companies and childhood cancer research by considering making monthly donations to the non-profit childhood cancer research foundations below:

Cure Childhood Cancer

St. Baldricks Foundation

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Beat NB

Want to do your part, but look good while doing it? These companies give to childhood cancer research based off a percentage of their profit: 

Fourth and Gold -> Donates 100% of profit in September, 50% all other months and donates a warrior shirt to a child with cancer with every purchase made 

Love Your Melon -> Donates 50% of profit and donates a LYM beanie to a child with cancer with every beanie sold 

Head Bands of Hope -> Donates 10% of profit and donates a headband to a child with cancer with every headband sold

We encourage you on behalf of Callie and the 42 other children who will get diagnosed with cancer today, that you help us close the funding gap and donate to childhood cancer research. Awareness, funding and dedication to changing the research world of childhood cancer is severely lacking. It takes a village…. please join ours.

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*”Neuroblastomas are cancers that start in early nerve cells (called neuroblasts) of the sympathetic nervous system, so they can be found anywhere along this system. Most neuroblastomas begin in sympathetic nerve ganglia in the abdomen, about half of these start in the adrenal gland. The rest typically start in sympathetic ganglia near the spine in the chest or neck, or in the pelvis. Stage 4: The cancer has spread to distant sites such as distant lymph nodes, bone, liver, skin, bone marrow, or other organs. Children in the high-risk group have a 5-year survival rate around 40% to 50%.” (American Cancer Society)


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