Traci and I have been quite busy...collecting the stories, photos, and videos of our young heroes. Although fundraising and head shaving is important to both of us, we first and foremost want to bring a face to pediatric cancer...or, as it is turning out, many faces.
Today, it is my honor and pleasure to introduce you to Corinne.
HI, CORINNE!!!! Oh wait, Blue wants to wave hello, too!
A little about Corinne...her favorite color is purple and she loves to play dress up, especially princesses. (Oh Corinne, you are my kind of girl!) She enjoys playing Disney games on her iPad and is creative, particularly when it comes to drawing and painting. Corinne is also the niece of a dear friend of mine from childhood. April, with permission from Corinne's parents, has been candid and generous in sharing the story of this brave and beautiful princess.
On January 11, 2013, Corinne went to the hospital to have some pre-op lab work before placement of her second set of ear tubes on January 14. She had battled frequent ear infections since birth. Other than ear infections, nothing seemed abnormal with Corinne. She was a feisty 3 year old and she was looking forward to her 4th birthday in March.
That afternoon, my sister-in-law, Emily, received a call from Corinne's doctor stating they needed to repeat Corinne's lab work. It was somewhat irritating for them as it was a battle to get her blood the first time. Emily took Corinne to have repeat lab work and not too long later they received the call that would change their lives. They were told Corinne's labs remained abnormal and they were concerned she could have Cancer. Jeremy and Emily were told to immediately take Corinne to Kosair's in Louisville for further evaluation. They packed up and over the next four days Corinne went through a battery of tests, which included a bone marrow biopsy. On January 15, 2013, they were told Corinne's biopsy indicated she had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). It was the news we had all hoped would not be true.
Corinne singing Over the Rainbow during her initial admission at Kosair's.
(Ally's note: To be very honest, when I watched this 30 second video, knowing what Corinne has been through since, it just took my breath away. What a heartbreaking, but beautiful moment.)
The next day, Corinne's treatment started. A port was placed and over the next several weeks she received some intense chemotherapy. The goal was to essentially wipe out her system and allow new, non-cancerous cells to develop. The hope was her next bone marrow biopsy would show she was in remission.
Approximately 30 days after she began chemotherapy, our prayers were answered. A bone marrow biopsy indicated Corinne was in remission! This was great news, but it did not mean Corinne's treatment was over. Another test that was performed on Corinne indicated she was at a higher risk for relapse then the doctor's would like. Therefore despite the news of remission, it was determined Corinne would need ongoing chemotherapy and the chemotherapy would be very intense.
Corinne playing with the Little People pirate ship (we know this pirate ship well as ours sits next to the rocker in Blue's nursery) during a recent stay at Kosair's.
Corinne is not scheduled to complete her chemotherapy regimen until sometime in June of 2015. While she has done well, she has suffered some set backs due to infections, low blood counts and intermittent needs for blood transfusions. However, she has remained her feisty self which has been a blessing.
April also mentioned that Corinne has especially missed preschool and playing with her friends there. For a long time, the risk of infection was just too high for her to safely attend school. Birthday parties have been canceled and rescheduled because counts were too low and she missed holidays like Thanksgiving because she was hospitalized and not allowed to have visitors due to risk of infection. April pointed out that although it has been difficult for her brother and sister-in-law, it's even harder to explain these things to a child. I can't begin to imagine. Corinne is old enough to understand that she isn't allowed to go to school, but not old enough to fully comprehend WHY. She gained a diagnosis and lost a bit of her childhood innocence, as she learned at the ripe age of 4 that life isn't fair. As parents, we realize that our children must learn that difficult lesson at some point, but not before the start of kindergarten.
Thank you SO much to Corinne and her parents for allowing us to know your story and for sharing it with others. We will keep your family close in our thoughts and prayers in the weeks, months and years ahead. Now...who would like to say HELLO and send early Happy Birthday wishes to Corinne, our princess warrior?