When I was 21 months old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. I was very sick and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. I had to be on chemo for over two years. I had surgery to have a port placed and would get needles poked into my port in my chest to get my chemo. I lost all my hair and had to take a lot of medicine.
Fighting cancer was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but there were some things that made it a little easier. I got to meet a singing group called Pentatonix. They came to the hospital to sing to the kids that were there. I got to do really fun things with the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation like Fashion Funds the Cure, The Steve Yerrid’s Kids Fishing Derby, and one year I even got an award called the Heart of a Champion Award. I felt so brave, and I got to have fun like a normal kid.
The best part was all the friends I made. They were fighting cancer just like me. We got to remind each other to be brave at the hospital and got to have fun with each other at special events. I would see some friends almost every day and we’re still friends today.
Thanks to the research that happened before I got sick and the doctors who helped me, I have been off chemo and in remission for almost 5 years, but some of my friends didn’t get a cure fast enough and are in heaven now. I miss my friends Nick, Melissa, and Morgan all the time. That’s why I’m excited to be an ambassador for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation now. I don’t want any kids to have to fight cancer anymore, and I don’t want to lose any more of my friends. I want to tell the whole world to help NPCF find a cure for all kid’s cancers!
On June 24th, 2011, at the age of 3, Lauren was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.
What started out as an innocent stomach ache ended in the ER with a CT scan that showed a large mass in her abdomen.
Lauren was treated at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa. She underwent 43 weeks of chemotherapy and 28 days of radiation which she had to be anesthetized for daily. We hit some road bumps along the way; she lost a significant amount of weight during her radiation treatment, so she had to have a feeding tube placed for supplemental feedings; one of the chemotherapy drugs (Vincristine) caused neuropathy in her legs which caused her to use a walker and eventually a wheelchair. We spent the majority of 2011 in-patient at St. Joseph’s for treatment.
Lauren has also had some post-treatment side effects from the harsh chemicals and radiation. Her immune system was severely affected, so she develop multiple ear and sinus infections and eventually had to have her tonsils/adenoids removed and tubes placed in her ears. The Vincristine also weakened the muscles in her eyes which developed into strabismus. This required her to have surgery in both eyes. Lauren has been diagnosed with a low heart rate which is currently being monitored.
Through all this, we are so happy and blessed to say that as of June 2017, Lauren has been in remission for 5 years. She is our strength, our courage, and our hero. Lauren enjoys music, dancing, cheering and anything to do with the Tampa Bay Lightning (she is a diehard fan). Lauren is also passionate about finding safer, more effective treatments for children with cancer. A year ago, Lauren raised over $10,000 for NPCF by shaving her hair. Her dreams came true having the TB Lightning players shaved her hair at the event.
Lauren reminds us daily to enjoy life moment to moment. Cancer is not prejudice; it can strike anyone at any time. We continue to fight along Lauren’s side and look forward to celebrating her 50, 60, and 70 year cancer-free!
Adyn was very very sick at the time of diagnosis. He basically spent the first month and a half inpatient. Just a day after diagnosis, Adyn had surgery to have a port placed in his chest and he began receiving an aggressive amount of chemotherapy. Over the past 13 months, Adyn has had several scheduled inpatient stays for treatment and a few non-scheduled inpatient stays due to fevers.
Adyn has been fully enjoying Kindergarten this school year. He continues to double his reading goal and has had straight A’s all year. Adyn just finished his first season of soccer since being diagnosed with ALL. He scored three goals at the last game of the season. If all continues to go well, Adyn will be playing another season of soccer which begins in March. Adyn enjoys reading, watching movies, putting together LEGOS, fishing, riding his bike, playing board games with his family and playing video games with is Daddy. Adyn has a younger sister, Abby. Adyn and Abby are only ten months apart, so they are very close.
Adyn wakes up almost every single day with a smile on his face and a positive attitude despite everything he has endured. Adyn’s Mama and Daddy could not possibly be any prouder of their warrior!!! Thankfully, Adyn has been doing very well and we pray that he continues to kick cancers butt!!!!! #AdynStrong
My name is Anthony Lamberto and I’m 17 years old. On May 2, 2017, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. In the weeks leading up to my diagnosis, I had been feeling very tired and lacked the stamina to do simple things such as walking from class to class at school or even walking up a flight of stairs. I also would experience times when my heart would be racing after something simple such as drying my hair after a shower or just standing up too quickly. These symptoms along with several other more minor things such as periodic back pain and pale skin led me to my diagnosis early last year.
Aside from my diagnosis, I am a normal 17-year-old from Clearwater, Florida. I am a huge sports fan and love all teams in the Tampa Bay Area and even love to play sports myself. When I’m not playing or watching sports, I’m usually playing my guitar or listening to some rock and roll music. I like most all types of music, but my favorite by far is rock and roll. These hobbies have helped me get through some of the tougher times during my treatment and have helped to take my mind off the stressful things brought on by my diagnosis.
Although my diagnosis has caused both mine and my family’s lives to change in ways that we had hoped would never happen, the incredible people we’ve come to know and the amazing experiences we have had would never have happened if not for my diagnosis. My diagnosis has both strengthened me as a person and has given me tools for use later in life that few sources can provide. I want to thank all the people at All Children’s hospital both in the hospital and in the Outpatient Care Clinic, and I also want to thank the overwhelming support that I have received from family and friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the strength and will to stay strong and continue fighting every day. I look forward to being an ambassador for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and I can’t wait for the amazing experiences and opportunities it will bring, along with the incredible people I will have the privilege to meet.
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