Legacy Days: Remembering Mary Elizabeth Paris
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, some families make the commitment to continue the fight for life. For these special families, CURE offers the ability to create a Named Fund or Believe Fund in honor or memory of their child. As a part of this decision, these families share their child’s story and make a commitment to raise money each year, which supports CURE Childhood Cancer’s mission 100%. These families are CURE’s rock stars; their hearts are huge and their drive to find a cure is even bigger. This July, CURE aims to honor these special children and families through a program we call “Legacy Days.” Today, we honor Mary Elizabeth Paris, whose family formed a Named Fund called United for a CURE to honor her memory. Mary Elizabeth’s Story: No one saw it coming. Mary Elizabeth was a vibrant, happy 11-year-old in the spring of 2014 when the headaches, tummy aches and bruising started. Spring Break vacation was cut short when Mary Elizabeth visibly just wasn’t herself.
She was soon diagnosed with AML – an aggressive leukemia requiring not just chemotherapy, but a bone marrow transplant. Despite Mary Elizabeth’s tortuous journey – including three bone marrow transplants from her brother, father and mother – Mary Elizabeth’s personality and love of life was simply infectious. Hundreds of thousands followed Mary Elizabeth’s fight, cheering her on and praying vigorously for her cure.
She suffered through chemo burns over 90% of her body. Cranial radiation, near paralysis, induced coma, three lung bleeds – and indescribable pain. Mary Elizabeth minimized the suffering, complaining only of missing her cats and her brother and sister, who held such a precious place in her heart. Her family and friends – and thousands of strangers – prayed for a miracle.
Mary Elizabeth died on September 2, 2015. And while her life was cut short, she left us with the miracle of having created an astounding level of awareness about the reality of an awful disease – childhood cancer. And she left us a challenge: to end the disease that cuts short such valorous, promising lives as Mary Elizabeth’s.
About United for a CURE: United for a CURE is a Named Fund of CURE Childhood Cancer, founded in honor of three incredibly brave children: Mary Elizabeth, Melissa and Lake. Sharing the same diagnosis and treatment protocol, these three children bonded instantly in the hospital and brought together three families for a united circle of support. If determination and prayers were enough, these three precious children would still be with us today. But AML is a monster, and it took the lives of Mary Elizabeth, Melissa and Lake within months of one another in 2015. Despite the tragic loss, three times over, their stories inspired hundreds of thousands and forever ignited a fire within three families – three families United for a CURE.
100% of the money raised by United for a CURE is donated to CURE Childhood Cancer. To learn more about United for a CURE, and learn how you may support the Paris family’s mission, click here.