Gabriel – Stage IV Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

When Gabriel was six years old he started complaining of abdominal pain. After several trips to the pediatrician and hospital Gabriel was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He had nine tumors that covered his spine, hips, and left leg. The cancer had also spread into his spinal fluid. On his seventh birthday, Gabriel received his first round of chemotherapy. He spent the next year receiving in-patient chemotherapy and received several drugs that were not designed for his little body. Today Gabriel is in remission and dealing with the long-term effects of the cancer and its treatment. Although his family is concerned about his increased risk of secondary cancer they are so grateful that he remains healthy and cancer free.

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Elizabeth- Ewing's Sarcoma

Elizabeth had Ewings Sarcoma and is now 15. We found out on April 7th of this year that she was NED which means no evidence of disease. She
is currently 6 months NED.
Easter of 2015 Elizabeth was experiencing a pain in her hip and leg. She had been a dancer since she was 2 so we figured she had just injured herself. After a few weeks it got worse so we decided to take her in to see the doctor. The doctor ordered an X-ray, which came back negative. We were then sent to do physical therapy to see what they thought. After a few sessions it was decided that she should have an MRI. To our surprise the MRI came back showing a large mass in her hip. We were then scheduled for a biopsy to find out what this mass was. We were told that it’s most likely one of many benign tumors but they needed to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. A week goes by and I receive a phone call, not from the surgeon but from Phoenix Children’s Blood and Cancer Center. My heart just about stopped as I was told my daughter had cancer.

A week later on July 6th 2015 we were told that my daughter had a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma and that she would have to have chemotherapy for 9 months, surgery and possible radiation. They also told us that she would be admitted that day. From that day everything has been a roller coaster. Our whole world was turned upside down. How could this happen to us? We quickly found out that childhood cancer is not as rare as they say it is. There are so many kids being diagnosed every day but you don’t see them because they are stuck in the hospital or at home sick.

After she completed 6 rounds of chemo we were told that we must choose between surgery and radiation. Both choices were not easy but after much research we decided to do surgery. The surgery she needed to have was called an internal hemipelvectomy. An 8 hour surgery that would remove her entire left hip with no replacement. She was also told that she would never dance again. This was hard for her but she took it on as a challenge. We call her the "One Hip Wonder" because she is dancing again.

I remember the day we told her that her tumor was cancerous. She just looked at us and said, "I got this". I believe her positive attitude is the main reason she beat it like she said she would. Till this day she doesn't let what happened to her dictate what she does.

Through this journey we have learned how horrible childhood cancer is.Every day 46 kids are diagnosed and 7 die. The treatments are harsh and there have only been 3 drugs approved for childhood cancer in the last20 years. After hearing this and meeting with other kids and families she has decided that she had to go through this for a reason. Her purpose is now to do whatever she can to raise awareness and make a difference.

One thing that made her feel better while going through chemo was makeup.She now creates makeup bags with personalized items for girls fighting this horrible disease. She also worked with her Aunt on a chemo bag cover called the Positivity Pouch which covers up the IV poles while kids are getting chemo and delivers these to kids at the hospital. She currently speaks at events for Make A Wish, Hope Kids, Phoenix Children's, Comfy Cozys and several other organizations.Her story has only begun and we look forward to her future.

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Evan's Leukemia Battle Facebook Page

Evan Farrell- ALL

Evan Farrell was born on August 1, 2014 via C-Section to my sister, Stacey Farrell and her husband Derrik. His birth set the path for stubbornness, which we now believe is key to his fighting so hard.

 

Evan is fighting Leukemia (A.L.L) since he was diagnosed on Christmas night 2014. His oncologist at Banner Thunderbird told Evan’s parents he was born with cancer and it was just the way his cells formed in the womb. Chemotherapy and all other medications to battle it began. After some time, his doctor declared him in remission. However, in August of 2016 Evan relapsed.

 

On January 11, 2017 Evan had a Bone Marrow Transplant at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He did so well that the discharge date of March was scrapped and he was released in February. Again, our hearts broke on May 19, 2017 when we heard he relapsed again and would be going back to Banner Thunderbird for treatment.

His oncologist informed us Evan would need a more advanced treatment which would take him out of state. Evan is now preparing for a “T-CELL” transplant, which was recently approved by the FDA a few weeks ago. This procedure is done in a few different cities across the US, however Seattle was the best fit.

 

Evan left for Seattle on July 26, 2017. Due to the risk from travel, he will be in Seattle for at least a few months..as of now. My sister stays in the room with him 24/7. Her husband had to come back to phoenix to work as he is the sole provider for money and insurance.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about my sister, brother-in-law and their precious son Evan. He is their only child, my only nephew and my mom’s only grandson. He is our world.

-Evan’s Aunt

October of 2017, despite having the strength of a warrior, Evan lost his battle to leukemia. He fought it like a champion for his entire life, all the way up until the end. You can find Evan's memorial plaque at the Arizona Wildlife World Zoo next to the sea turtle exhibit. We will keep fighting for you, Superman. 

OUR HEROES