Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sanity's Blogtober TIP Parade: 10/14 Childhood Cancer SUCKS!

About a year and a half ago I started a mission...I was going to bring smiles to the faces of every child on the planet with cancer! I started its4thekids! With some very generous artists, we formed a philanthropic organization that sold art to raise money for what I called the human side of cancer. Many people don't know that electric still gets turned off, insurance companies drop your spouse, etc, etc, etc all while you are watching your child battle cancer. I had heard enough and wanted to help. The very first child we raised money for was Jessica! She was diagnosed in 2006, at 7 years old, with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. In her own words:
"I am 7 years old and have alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft tissue cancer. I had a bump on my leg one day, and the next week I was at ACH having biopsies. I will be on chemotherapy and other treatment for 43 weeks, possibly longer. I cannot go to school or play sports until chemo is finished, and may lose my right leg too."
Her leg was amputated and she was fit with a prosthetic she affectionately named, Elvis!

This photo (below) was taken at the Arkansas Children's Hospital to celebrate Jessica's last chemo treatment. She was 8 years old!

On Valentine's Day 2007 Jessica got the news that her cancer was in remission. She was thrilled to get a second shot at a "normal" childhood. And she was even more thrilled when her hair grew back!
In November of 2007, Jessica was having some breathing issues and was sent to have scans done to rule out a relapse of the cancer. Unfortunately, after months of waiting and getting test results, doctors revealed that they had found a tumor in her back. Jessica underwent removal of the tumor in April 2008 and started another round of chemo almost immediately. A relapse of this type of cancer has a VERY poor prognosis.
December 3, 2008 and just in time for Christmas, Jessica was told she had achieved a SECOND REMISSION! By this time Jessica had also exhausted her lifetime allotment of chemo and could not afford another relapse.
Jessica and her mom, Teresa, put all the rebounding energy into a BIG project. A cookbook of recipes collected from across the country to benefit Childhood Cancer!

Once again her hair grew back and she was back to the energetic kid she always was. This photo is of her and her sister, Katie, goofing around! What a beautiful smile!

8 1/2 months later (August 2009), Jessica was having trouble breathing once again. The family's fears mounted.

This beautiful 10 year old's body was shutting down. Her mother reports on their caringbridge site, "CANCER BACK, wrapped around aorta and shoving heart up chest cavity, invading spine at T11-12, multiple metastases in lungs and lymph nodes." Jessica spent the next 2 weeks in the hospital.

I saw this on Jessica's facebook page (September 9th... less than ONE WEEK AGO):

"i'm home finally i got home bout 45 minutes ago and i'm here on hospice..i still have the chest tube in and an iv hooked but now all i do is lay and bed and wait till God comes to bring me home!!"

Jessica Easley turned 11 today...she blew out her candles with Jesus!

What will YOU do about Childhood Cancer?

46 children every school day are diagnosed with some form of cancer.

Only a small percentage of them will live 5 more years.

The American Cancer Society gives 0.03 on the dollar to childhood cancers.

Donate to organizations like CureSearch and Alex's Lemonade Stand where ALL funding supports research for childhood cancers.

Sign the Childhood Cancer Petition!

Leave a comment for Jessica and her family here or at their CaringBridge site!

Tips for the TIP parade?

DO SOMETHING! Don't turn away!

If you would like to purchase Jessica's cookbook, please email Teresa @



C said...

According to the petition site, I actually already signed this in December, and quite frankly it sickens me that it STILL does not have enough signatures. What about kids with cancer causes people to hesitate signing????

CraftyMomof3 said...

I thought I had signed this one already, but I didn't so I am signed up and spreading the petition around plus I am going to link to here.

So sad. My heart goes out to her parents.

Major said...

It's nice to see others out there doing what they can do for these kids. I have followed Jessica for 2 years, and have personally gotten to know 2 other girls, both are gone now. I started my own blog two years ago, but it really has become a diary. I am writing a book about my experience with childhood cancer kids.Mostly about the two I knew. Thanks for your heart.


Anonymous said...

I anonymously paid for a family's lunch one day. Their son was bald and I suspected he was a cancer kid. The thoughts of the mounting hospital bills weighed on my mind during our lunch so I asked the waitress to bring me their bill.. it was the best $40 I spent all year!