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.
Layah Ahlora Collins, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma at 15 months of age
Current age: 20 months (DOB 10/3/17)
Events leading up to Layah’s diagnosis: “She had fallen at daycare and her left eye was swollen, but the swelling never went away. She stopped sleeping at night and would wake up numerous times screaming. I took her to the doctor numerous times before they did a CT and found the tumor beside her eye. After other scans, they found her primary tumor which is on her spine.”
Favorite movies/shows: Her favorite movie is “The Good Dinosaur” and her favorite show is “Minnie mouse”
Favorite toys: Layah loves to be active in her ball pit or building things with her blocks
Layah can’t go anywhere without her: Pacifier! Similar to diamonds at 20 months old, it’s a girls best friend 🙂
Favorite foods: Layah loves her some cheese doodles and ice cream!
If you know Layah you know that she: Is a true fighter and doesn’t let anything stop her.
What you cannot see is here is that Layah has endured:
- 2 biopsies (one of the tumor beside her left eye and one of the tumor on her spine)
- 5 rounds of chemo so far.
- An apheresis process done which took her stem cells and harvest them for a future stem cell transplant.
- Numerous blood transfusions due to her counts being low during/after chemo.
- She just had surgery to remove as much of the tumor in her chest and spine as possible.
Layah’s mom, Alysha, on the hardest part about having a child with cancer: “The hardest part for me is that I have no control over what is going on. As a parent I’m suppose to protect my baby and with this situation I feel like there’s nothing I can do. It’s hard to watch her be sick after chemo. I just feel so helpless.”
One thing you wish people knew about childhood cancer: “Childhood cancer doesn’t get the funding that it should. I feel like there could be better options for children and more survivors if it received the funding it should.”
How has childhood cancer impacted your lives the most: “Everything has changed. I had to leave work to stay home with Layah. I’m also so worried about taking her anywhere in public due to the fear of her getting sick. We spend most of our time in the hospital, so she doesn’t live the normal life of a 20 month old.”
What does “going Gold” mean to you as a cancer parent: “It means soooo much! I want everyone to be aware and know that other kids just like my baby are fighting a battle and going through more than most grown people have been through.”
Facebook page : “Layah’s fight against Neuroblastoma”
Sweet, sweet Layah has a heart of gold. She always seems to be smiling and although she’s been forced to fight for her life, she’s done so with grace and dignity. She’s 20 months old and I am truly inspired by her strength and her fight.
As Layah’s mom, Alysha, was saying, childhood cancer is underfunded. No, it’s not slightly underfunded, it’s tragically underfunded. Childhood cancer research gets 4% of all research funding. $.04 of every dollar goes to our kids battling for their life. Cancer is the LEADING cause of death from disease among children in the United States, yet the lack of awareness and knowledge is infuriating! Childhood cancer is a national CRISIS, but it’s treated like it’s a one in a million chance when in all reality, there is a 1 in 285 chance your child will get cancer. That is so unsettling to know that we have to fight tooth and nail just to be heard on why kids are worth more than 4%.
Layah deserves to live a long, full, happy life. She doesn’t deserve to be fighting for her life from a disease that rudely and uninvitingly entered their worlds. Alysha deserves a peace of mind. She deserves to know that there is adequate funding, less toxic treatments and higher survival rates (50% for high risk neuroblastoma)… but she doesn’t get that because childhood cancer research only receives 4% of all funding.
Here’s where Fourth and Gold comes in. Every month, Fourth and Gold donates 50% of their profit to our non-profit research foundations who conduct their own research to help find a cure. Please consider matching our donations or making monthly donations to the foundations here: St. Baldrick’s Foundation, CURE Childhood Cancer, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Beat NB, Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. If you want to help childhood cancer research and have apparel to raise awareness, Fourth and Gold donates 50% of all profit to research foundations and a Warrior Shirt to children battling cancer, Love your Melon donates 50% of profit to research foundations and a LYM beanie to children battling cancer, Five Below donates an undisclosed profit to Alex’s Lemonade Stand for research and Headbands of Hope donates 10% of profit to research.
On behalf of Layah and 42 other kids who will get the dreaded cancer diagnosis today, we hope you are inspired and encouraged to join our village and the fight against childhood cancer.