Click the images to see them larger above!
Learn more about
Get the facts about and how our research projects are making a difference.Learn More »
My name is Amanda I am a single mother of two. My darling daughter Anaya is wise beyond her years and celebrated her third birthday in August 2011. Anaya is only 3-years-old and has already been through so much.
In November of 2007 I was hit head-on by a driver that was texting, and was completely unaware that I was pregnant at the time. I had so many complications during my pregnancy, including a couple of broken ribs, and was on complete bed rest for the remaining duration of my pregnancy. My little angel Anaya was born a healthy bundle of joy, or so we thought. She has an infectious personality and is a joy to be around.
Anaya sustained a bump on her head while running into a computer desk playing with her cousins and sister (my “kids” as she affectionately calls them). Anaya didn’t skip a beat and seemed to recover within minutes and was virtually unharmed other than a very little bump on her head. I took Anaya for a routine visit to her pediatrician and didn’t hesitate to mention her accident. I was assured that this would clear up and was reminded that “all kids fall.” After almost a month I noticed the swelling wasn't going down, and became very concerned with what seemed to be an even larger bump on her head. I decided to go with my gut instinct and take her back for a follow up. The doctor measured the bump and set up an appointment for an x-ray. I thought nothing of it and went about my day. Two days later I took Anaya back in for the x-rays. I then followed-up for the x-ray results – to my surprise her pediatrician said, “I'm so sorry to inform you that Anaya is diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer.” I was speechless... Words couldn't adequately describe the feeling I felt.
In January of 2010 I myself had surgery to remove a brain tumor on my pituitary gland, and now only a year later to hear that my precious Anaya had cancer. I thought, “This had to be some sick joke.” Two days later after spending all day playing with her older sister little, Anaya seemed to have trouble walking and little interest in standing up complaining of leg pain. I knew she didn't sustain an injury so I took her to the ER. After several hours of x-rays and a CT scan, they admitted Anaya to Children’s Hospital in Orange County (CHOC) still not really giving a real diagnosis. How is it possible to say so much to parents and yet say nothing at all (in the same breath)?
After 48 hours of what I thought were the longest hours of my life, on April 20 2011, it was determined that she had stage 4 Neuroblastoma which was aggressive and was causing the leg pain. I was heartbroken and immediately got on a ride that I never saw coming. How could she be that ill and it go unnoticed? After a battery of additional tests, scans, and blood work it was apparent that our baby girl had stage 4 cancer. Looking back now, I must say that I feel blessed that I didn’t sit on this so that her pediatrician didn’t just dismiss our concern. Even though Anaya running into the computer desk was coincidental – it was a blessing in disguise, as we may have never known she was so ill. CHOC is great with Anaya and makes sure that her care is a team effort. The team of doctors, nurses and supportive staff has been incredible. They ensure the support and care is not just for the child but the entire family unit. Anaya has a long fight ahead of her and even though this is new to her, we trust in the lord and pray every day for courage to handle it all. We have faith that God can move mountains.
Written by Amanda DeFour, Anaya’s Mom
Donate in Honor of Anaya Today!
Your donation helps to fund critically-needed research to find better treatments and cures for children with cancer.