Elizabeth’s first tumor was found on the Fourth of July, just after her second birthday.
“We had to leave our hometown to get a proper diagnosis and treatment,” said her mom Laura. Elizabeth’s family drove her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia every week to treat the two-year-old for Rhabdomyosarcoma.
By age three, she was a survivor.
But ten years later - right before Halloween - Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer again. Her first year as a teenager would be consumed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“Her case, we were told, was very rare with few similar cases,” wrote Laura. “A lot of treatments were doctors’ best guesses — not proven cures.”
Her mom wrote to us in January 2020, celebrating that Elizabeth has now been cancer-free for two years.
“But the treatments pushed her into early menopause,” wrote Laura, “and we are still trying to repair damage done by brachytherapy,” noting that the family is still working with specialists at CHOP and Penn Medicine.
"The most challenging thing is trying to get back to a normal life. It seems like every time we plan something, we end up having to cancel because we need to go to the hospital or see a specialist,” said Laura.
“Don't get me wrong: I am so thankful to still have her in my life, but I wish there was a way to treat cancer that doesn't destroy the rest of the body.”
Children’s Cancer Cause fights for children with cancer like Elizabeth every day. We are working to achieve access to less toxic and more effective pediatric cancer therapies; to expand resources for research and specialized care; and to address the unique needs and challenges of childhood cancer survivors and their families. Learn more at www.childrenscancercause.org.