Ever day you meet, see, or hear of a warrior. Sometimes you may not even know it. They are often fighting something big not just for themselves, but representing their community and those fighting similar battles.
We at little minis believe in family and all these warriors and know that by shining a light on them and the battles they fight we can all do something wonderful for each other.
Meet Warrior Amelia.
She may be quiet at first but she was born fierce and strong. She loves playing and meeting new friends. She’s great at joining in with others on the playground. She notices details and loves going to the zoo, Disneyland, and park play dates. Amelia is in dance class and just finished 4 rounds of swim class.
When did she become a warrior?
She was diagnosed at 11 months old, immediately had brain surgery and then treatment. Her chemo and radiation ended by 18 months old. She’s had clear scans ever since her initial surgery. We go back and forth about her NED status (no evidence of disease). Whether it was when she had a gross total resection (surgery) or when her treatment ended. I say her surgery! So right about one year When first caught- The tumor was about 6 weeks old. It grew very fast in a small amount of time.
Tell us more about her condition.
Grade 3 anaplastic ependymoma is a rare cancer of the brain or spine. The fact that she’s almost 5 and hasn’t had a recurrence is a miracle and puts us at ease. She will be monitored through routine MRI’s 2-3 times per year until she’s 10.
Tell us how it has changed you.
I’m still learning for the experience to this day. At the time, people would say “I can’t believe how strong you are” Any mother would step up for their child and fight along side them. I saw many children on the hem/onc floor whose parents were right there with them. The experience as a whole has grounded me. I cannot talk about this experience without acknowledging that I wouldn’t have made it through with out my community, my husband, my parents, and mostly my faith. There were other aspects that you go through as a parent of a warrior. For me- I also struggled with loneliness. I was isolated, not only because I didn’t have many people to talk to, but also it was flu season and we were not allowed to have visitors. As scary as a cancer diagnosis is, and as she’s likely to have a recurrence, we choose to not live in fear. I've been able to share our story with some groups.
How has it changed her?
She was so little, everyone would say “at least she won’t remember” but it still affects her physically. She has a “delay” on her left hand. Where she sees an OT. Also a speech delay. She was diagnosed with hearing loss (high pitched sounds) and wears hearing aides most of the time. The hearing loss was due to one of her chemo treatments. At 4.5 she still doesn’t fully understand the gravity of the whole experience. She says she had a brain tumor and that she had cancer. I tell her all the time that she is healed; that she is a warrior, a miracle. My hope is- as she grows and understands, she lives life with a great sense of purpose and helps others.
Tell us something that we as a community can do to support you and your warrior.
Well this opportunity to share our story helps with pediatric cancer awareness. There’s a #morethanfour campaign that teaches others that only 4% of cancer research goes to pediatrics. So many kids are affected by cancer. We were on a trial through St. Jude’s and we’re grateful to them.
Follow along on this warriors journey and support: @Raising3flores
-We are sending so much love to you!