We would like you to meet this months cancer cutie, PIA! She has stolen our hearts and we know you will fall in love with her too. Pia was originally diagnosed with Transient Myeloproliferative Leukemia, a rare cancer that only affects children with Down syndrome. She beat TMD and a couple months later was diagnosed with AML cancer! Pia, you kicked cancer's butt once we know you can do it again!
Here is Pia's story told by her beautiful mother:
It was December. We got a call early Sunday morning to tell us that Pia was coming. We went to church. We came home, and tried to eat. We paced. We watched football, and cleaned the house, but mostly we paced.
At 4:00 we got another call. She’d been born. She was healthy. And she was waiting for us at the hospital.
We met Pia Therese that day, and fell in love with her. She was beautiful. And she was, from that moment forward, our daughter.
Pia is our second child. Like her brother, she’s adopted. And like her brother, Pia was born with trisomy-21, Down syndrome.
We took her home on Tuesday. She was little, and pink, and perfect. On Friday morning we took her to the doctor. She was weighed, and measured, and poked. She giggled and fluttered her eyes.
On Friday afternoon, we got another call. An ominous call. We needed to go back to the doctor’s. Something was wrong.
Things started happening fast. We went from the doctors to the hospital, quickly, quietly, trying to process what we’d been told. We sat quietly, but the word “leukemia” echoed in our ears.
Pia had something called Transient Myeloproliferative Leukemia. A rare cancer that only affected children with Down syndrome. The prognosis was good. Just three weeks later, and with no chemo, she left the hospital. 2 months after that, Pia was cancer free.
Until December. Pia was about to turn one. We were planning a birthday party. But after a trip to the doctor for a lingering cold, the phone rang. We needed to go to the hospital. Right away.
Four hours later, we heard the word again. Leukemia. Pia Therese, our little baby girl, has Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The next day, she began chemotherapy.
Pia has Down syndrome, so she’s not without challenges. But she is an extraordinary child. She never stops moving. Or smiling. She climbs, and tugs, and throws everything she can. And her smile is the brightest we’ve ever seen. She lights up when she sees a familiar face, or makes a new friend.
She’s had three rounds of chemo. She’ll have three more. Each round means a month in the hospital, isolated from her brother, spending time nauseous and not sleeping. But Pia’s joy is unflappable. She loves each day, and each person, with all her heart. Her optimism is a source of strength for us.
Our faith tells us that good can come from suffering—that God can use our suffering to achieve great things. We’ve always believed this. But Pia has proven it true. Her life—her beautiful, joyful, challenging life—has touched so many. But she’s touched no one more than us.
Our daughter came to us with a phone call. So did cancer. Twice. But every day, we thank God for those phone calls—for Pia, and for everyway she’s showered us with love.