2016 Ambassador Momo
Momo was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on August 1, 2011. The last thing our family ever imagined was that our spunky little girl would be diagnosed with cancer. Before being diagnosed, she was always healthy, energetic and had the normal life of a 2 1/2 year-old.
She kept her spunk and spice all throughout her treatment – always smiling, laughing, making the most of her situation and having fun. Despite chemo every single day for 2 1/2 years, multiple transfusions, spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies, she was strong and brave.
On October 11, 2013 she completed treatment. We are proud to say she is cancer free, active, and wise beyond her years. She loves life and finds joy in being busy. She enjoys swimming, hanging out with her friends, horseback riding, dressing up and hockey. She hopes someday to be a teacher! Our family is blessed to be able to enjoy her smile and unique perspective on the world.
Since being diagnosed, our family has learned to give back. We realize the importance of being active in the community and to help others see the benefits of being part of the bigger picture. Giving of your time and heart goes a long way. Being part of the Children’s Miracle Network and Baystate Children’s Hospital has empowered our family to help others in the community deal with childhood cancer and find strength. No one needs to go alone along this journey.
Momo has taught us all so much about life, and we want to share that with everyone.
2015 Ambassador Lisa
A special thanks to Emily Thurlow of the Palmer Journal for sharing her work.
2014 Ambassador Luke
During the winter of 2011, our six year old son Luke, the oldest of our three boys, was complaining of headaches. He seemed tired all of the time, to the point that he would fall asleep on the bus rides home from school. It was at the end of January that we started noticing very dark bruises on his legs, and his fatigue had escalated to the point that he came home from school one day and sat down in the snow at the end of the driveway. My husband called me at work and said he couldn’t wait for our scheduled doctor’s appointment and wanted to have Luke looked at now. He brought Luke to the urgent care center I worked at, and after some initial blood tests we were sent to the emergency department at Baystate Medical Center.
February 4, 2011 was the date that Luke was diagnosed. It turned out to be Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We were heartbroken. It seemed like he was in and out of procedures – surgery to install his port (an internal device installed to access blood treatments), further tests, needles, & scans. I remember being with Luke in the play area of the hospital and having families ask why our son was admitted. When we mentioned cancer, we would see the look on their face and it seemed to cement the surreal feeling we were surrounded in. Finally after seven days at Baystate Children’s Hospital we were discharged home. Luke responded very quickly to his treatments and after the first 28 days no cancer cells were found to exist in his bone marrow. We were elated and felt that surge of hope propel us to his next level of treatment.
The first 6 months are the most intense, with loss of hair, weight gain, and side effects from the steroids and chemotherapy. But with each hurdle, the hope of tomorrow gave us a boost. Luke was so strong. His strength and resilience would often move my husband and I to tears…proud tears. And the love of family, friends, our church and the community was overwhelming! Luke remained at home for the rest of the school year and his teacher offered to tutor him each day. Faithfully she sat by his side and made sure he made it to 2nd grade.
Since the first 6 months ended, we have had a handful of admissions for fevers and otherwise normal conditions (like the flu, sinus infections, and the like). While still in treatment, something as simple as a fever needs to be monitored closely. Now after 3 years, we are 3 months away from his final treatment. April is our “tomorrow” that is finally in sight. While it has been a roller coaster of emotions, there have been points of beauty along the way that have inspired us. More than anything else, our son…Luke…inspires us. We are grateful to all who have been there with us during this journey. Many thanks to all the team at Baystate Children’s Hospital – our faith and your work have carried us along!