By: Erin Weller
Throughout June, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) is sharing childhood cancer stories to honor National Cancer Survivor Month. Thanks to research advancements made possible by our generous donors, the five-year survival rate for a pediatric cancer diagnosis has risen to 84%.
While there is still work to do to find cures for all kids, here are a few inspiring survivor stories that remind us to hold onto hope:
When Kevin was 3 years old, he received a cancer diagnosis. In 2021, he received his high school diploma.
In 2006, Kevin was having trouble sleeping and returned home from daycare with a fever. A trip to the emergency room turned into a stay at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri – where he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Treatment was a long and winding road through biopsies, a central line placement, chemotherapy, a tumor removal surgery, a bone marrow transplant, and eventually, antibody therapy. But in 2007, Kevin saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and he’s been cancer-free ever since.
Although harsh treatment methods left him with high-frequency hearing loss, nothing can stop Kevin from playing music. Today, he is a musician, an athlete, and a high school graduate.
Olivia was diagnosed with medulloblastoma when she was 3 years old, and now, she’s defying the odds at 14.
What started as cold symptoms became something far more serious when Olivia visited Ai duPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. The doctors discovered a tumor and swelling in her brain, and she received a shunt, plus tumor removal surgery.
It wasn’t until after the surgery that her diagnosis was official, and Olivia faced the trial of treatment. As she struggled with posterior fossa syndrome – a symptom of her cancer that causes mutism – Olivia started rounds of chemotherapy, proton radiation, and physical therapy.
In 2010, Olivia completed treatment; she still suffers from chemo side effects, but there is no evidence left of the disease. Now, Olivia is 14 and free to play field hockey and soccer to her heart’s content at Red Lion Christian Academy.
Kingsley was less than a year old when he faced the toughest battle of his life, but his victory made him the resilient 10-year-old he is today.
A month away from his first birthday, Kingsley was diagnosed with Wilms tumor. His cancer type was rare for someone of his age, but it turned into a blessing as that made it more treatable.
The doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia, removed the tumor along with his kidney before starting treatment. Kingsley may have lost hair and his appetite during chemotherapy, but he remained relatively healthy.
After many annual follow-up scans, Kingsley entered the survivors’ clinic at age 7, and in August 2021, he will celebrate ten years of being cancer-free! His history may prevent him from playing his dream sport – football – but Kingsley is leading a happy childhood and playing lots of soccer to make up for it.
When Taylor was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 11 years old, it was hard to imagine what the future would look like. Little did Taylor know that she would beat cancer, graduate college, and marry the man of her dreams all before turning 26.
When Taylor was 11 years old, she received her diagnosis and began the long road through treatment. After months of chemotherapy and surgery on her right arm, Taylor was deemed cancer-free. Unfortunately, her triumph didn’t last long.
Taylor relapsed when she was 13, and from then on, every time she finished treatment, the cancer would find its way back. It wasn’t until she began a clinical trial funded by ALSF that Taylor’s sarcoma was finally gone for good.
Ever since then, Taylor’s dedicated her life to caring for others by becoming a pediatric nurse. In 2019, she married the love of her life. Taylor is grateful for every day she’s been given, and the couple is excited to see what more the future holds.
Survival is a triumph, but that doesn’t make the journey an easy one – especially when some survivors are left with side effects from treatment. This June, let’s support all kids affected by this disease by drawing hope from the incredible survivors who came before them! Your donation will help fund research that can deliver more cures to more kids.