Amelia's Army of Angels
In April of 2016, our lives were changed forever when our 1 year old, Amelia, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. She had a tumor the size of a mango growing in her abdomen. Needless to say, Bethany and I were as scared as either of us have been in our entire life due to the uncertainty of the severity of this disease. After multiple tests and evaluations, the team of doctors at Children's Hospital determined that the best course of action was to schedule a resection of the tumor ASAP. From the time she was diagnosed to the surgery date was less than 3 weeks. The goal was to attempt to remove the entire tumor to eliminate the need for radiation or chemotherapy. The challenge would be that the tumor could be too difficult to remove from organs that it may have attached to.
On the day of the surgery, Bethany and I were surrounded by family and friends as we anxiously awaited the completion of the surgery. Through the grace of God and the amazingly skillful hands of Dr. Marcus Malek, we were blessed with the news that he was able to remove the entire tumor! Amelia's surgery was on April 22nd, 2016 and thus spent her 2nd birthday on April 24th in the hospital. Over the past 2 years, we have had follow-up MRI's every 3-6 months where Amelia is put under anthesia for a 3 hour scan. We have been beyond fortunate that every time, her scan has come back clean! In fact, we are due to return on April 30th to have her first scan in 1 year.The farther out from the resection, the less likely that the cancer will re-occur.
It is impossible to express how thankful we are for the care that we received at Children's Hospital. From the night of the diagnosis to the day of our last scan, the entire staff has been nothing short of amazing! The administrative staff, nurses and doctors always exceed our wildest expectations. Special thanks to Dr. Brittani Seynnaeve who has owned Amelia's case and been there every step of the way to ensure the plan for her care was a world-class experience. As mentioned above, we owe more than we can ever repay to Dr. Marcus Malek whose extreme surgerical talent prevented Amelia from any further trauma by removing the entire tumor! The nurses who cared for Amelia during her hospital stay were so compassionate that it felt like they were our relatives! We continue to receive the same level of special care at every follow up appointment by the entire team at Children's.
Not every family is as fortunate as we have been. However, we, as a community could not be more fortunate to have this level of care in Pittsburgh. Fundraising events like the Walk for Children's ensure that all children in need can receive the care that they deserve.
On Saturday, June 1, our team is participating in the fourth annual Walk for Children’s at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park. Please join us and thousands of patients, families, and supporters of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to help make a difference in the lives of the kids in our community and beyond.
Your support will help Children’s Hospital continue to give kids the chance they deserve, regardless of their ability to pay.
We would love to have as many of you join us on the walk as possible! However, if you are not available on June 1st, please consider donating to our team and the kids at Children's!
Thank you for helping us reach our goal and Give Kids A Chance To Be Kids!
Will and Bethany
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