This month's cancer cutie is very dear to our hearts. Our dear friend (and business partner), Chelsea, is watching her daughter battle for her life with her 2nd round of cancer. Cami is something special. If you have ever been around this girl you know exactly what we are talking about...she is inspiring and wiser beyond her 8 year old self! Chelsea, we love you so much and are here fighting this battle with you every step of the way!
Here is Cami's story written by her amazing mom:
On July 9th, 2010, an otherwise normal Friday morning our 4 year old Cami woke with leg & hip pains. She had been complaining about this for a few weeks but we figured it was just growing pains. As the day progressed, she was limping a little, lethargic and running a low grade fever. I called and made a last minute appointment with her pediatrician. Our Dr. called late that night and said Cami’s blood work came back with some abnormalities and told us to take her directly to Primary Childrens Hospital After a long agonizing night, Cami was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (or B-cell ALL) Our Cami had cancer! There are no words to describe the pain and agony we felt They immediately admitted us to the oncology floor. Before we even had time to process what was happening she was scheduled for surgery for a portacath placement, a spinal tap, bone marrow aspiration and her first chemotherapy all within 8 hours of her diagnosis. (Read more about Cami's diagnosis here.)
4 year old Cami in the hospital after her diagnosis
After our week long hospital stay we were sent home with dozens of prescriptions, schedules and chemo dates. Over time, we had to learn to clean differently, prepare food a certain way and isolate Cami from the outside world. Cami was also very sad to know that she would not be able to attend Kindergarten that she was so looking forward to, she lost her precious princess hair, got poked by thousands of needles, learned the art of swallowing handfuls of pills each day and learned to live with the many side effects associated with her treatments. Our courageous little girl was forced to grow up way too fast but handled her disease with strength and her normal positive attitude. Cami's went through 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy and then went off therapy September 9th, 2012.
Watch her end of treatment video here:
Watch her end of treatment video here:
Once Cami went off treatment, we had a HUGE goodbye to cancer party and our life pretty much went back to normal! Cami made it through her entire year of 1st grade, loved not having to take her daily pills and the nasty chemo effects even started to wear off! Then one perfectly normal summer day, Cami started having intense hip pain which eventually led to her oncologist giving us the news that every cancer family fears... Cami has relapsed. It is a feeling of panic and utter shock all at the same time. Cami's cancer is back and we have to once again fight for her life, but this time her fight is a much harder one.
She will have to endure many months of extremely intense chemotherapy and radiation, followed by a bone marrow transplant from an unknown donor. She has a long road ahead of her. We know it wont be easy, we are all terrified and still in shock that our life once again, revolves around medication, hospital stays, Dr. visits, IV poles, and a sick daughter. Cami has captured the hearts of all her caregivers at Primary Children's Hospital along with countless others. She touches hearts daily as she fights her battle with a smile. Despite our fears, we know that we can do this! We know that our Cami is strong, she is a true fighter! We will never give up fighting for her, laughing with her and loving her along this journey. We will stay Cami Strong!!!
We love you SO much Cami and are here cheering you on every step of the way! We can't wait to throw you a big PARTY that you have kicked cancer's butt once and for all! LOVE YOU!