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Christmas Comes Early!

“It Was Amazing, Mom!”

These were the first words out of Julia’s mouth when she got off the bus. She proceeded to tell me about the Pep Rally at school, preparing for the following week’s Spirit Week. Julia’s school, Brooke Elementary, was holding a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Oncology Department in honor of Julia. Julia told me about getting in front of the entire school and letting everyone know how great this fundraiser is – “It’s so good to know that kids want to help kids with cancer”.

Each day, during the next week of school, was a “spirit day” with the kids wearing a different color or dressing like a super hero (Julia was “Star Girl” – dressed in a shirt and earrings embellished with stars “because Mom, I am always reaching for the stars”) and also having the opportunity for parents to join them for lunch. There was a raffle for Eagles Football tickets and on Friday night, a Beef and Beer to raise additional money.

The Beef and Beer was wonderful. Family, friends, neighbors and those we were never honored to meet before that night all came out to support CHOP. It was overwhelming to see the love and support of a community for our girl. Julia lived up to her “Star Girl” alter-ego and welcomed everyone at the start of the event, thanking them for supporting all the kids with cancer and then singing “In the Jungle” with her “back-up band”, Mama Kin. Julia has no fear – she is my super hero.

Thank you to everyone who made this event a success – and drumroll please – Brooke Elementary and all of its supporters raised more than $6300 for CHOP!

Julia has been doing well since her surgery and radiation. She gets tired easily, but that is to be expected after the radiation. She heads to school each day with a smile and started back with swimming lessons last month.

Monday, we headed to the Clinic for Julia’s first post radiation scans. Julia had an ultrasound of her abdomen, a CT scan of her lungs, blood work and an exam. Julia’s exam went well and her blood work looked normal. We waited for the results of the scans – minutes seeming like hours and then the word came – ALL CLEAR!!!!!! The radiologist could clearly see where the tumors had been excised, but Julia’s lungs were clear.

The tears welled in my eyes and smiles rippled through the clinic as the word spread of Julia’s scans. The clock has started again – counting off the time for five years cancer free and the golden ring of survivorship. Julia will head back to clinic every three months for scans. She will have a CT scan of her lungs each visit and alternate between an ultrasound and CT scan of her abdomen.

So until March, we will enjoy the early Christmas gift of clear scans; celebrate the generosity of friends, family and strangers who all came to support our little girl and CHOP; and be thankful every day for our Super Hero, “Star Girl”.

Merry Christmas to all and wishing everyone a happy, healthy new year!

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