Meet our 2016 featured patient, Michaela

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In 2010, pediatric cancer came knocking on our door. Our sweet four-year-old daughter, Michaela, had been sick. We sat at Seattle Children’s Hospital one winter day after weeks of thinking she had a bad case of the flu. That morning, drawing blood from her weak body had been a challenge. Finally, to our horror, the doctor announced the word “Leukemia.”

Michaela was immediately hospitalized, and her little body was pumped with chemotherapy. After coming home, she lost her appetite and had to be fed exclusively via feeding tube. Due to her unusual high-risk and slow-responding type of ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), she endured weeks of cranial radiation to off-set the risk that the cancer had spread to her spinal fluid and into her brain. She was placed on a rigorous chemo schedule, requiring out-patient treatment several times a week and daily at home. She was regularly transfused and infused. Because the treatment itself made her sicker, she also was prone to infection and spent countless nights in isolation in-patient at the hospital. This cycle of treatment and sickness went on for over two years.

We are beyond grateful to Seattle Children’s Hospital for the care she received during those years. The oncology doctors and nursing staff became like family to us. Ultimately, Michaela survived the battle, but she did not do so unscathed. Now a beautiful 11-year-old, she continues to visit the survivorship team annually as they follow her for long-term side-effects of treatment. In addition to potential physical side-effects, including pituitary and growth issues, the years of treatment have caused cognitive and learning challenges, and they have taken an emotional toll on her.

As we have witnessed Michaela’s battle firsthand, we have become passionate about the research being done through the Strong Against Cancer organization. Our family has supported this cutting-edge research for years and we look forward to a day when no child will have to endure the years of painful treatments and the lifetime of side-effects that so many cancer kids face. We remain hopeful, and we are eager to see the eradication of childhood cancer once and for all.

~Jon, father of Michaela