In September 2020, Claire woke up one day complaining of leg pain. Her mother, Kathleen, noticed a sizable bump on her upper thigh and took her to their pediatrician, who determined it to be an infection. After ten days of antibiotics did nothing to reduce the size of the bump, Claire was taken for an ultrasound.
“I knew right away that something wasn’t right,” said Kathleen. “After the scan, the ultrasound technician immediately went out of the room and talked to the radiologist.”
A follow-up CT scan revealed that Kathleen was right. Claire was scheduled for immediate surgery, after which they would learn that the bump was cancer. The makeup of the tumor was consistent with b-cell lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma. Fortunately, her bone marrow came back clean.
“Claire was lucky because we caught it very early,” shared Kathleen. “After testing on the lymph nodes, it showed her cancer to be lymphoma and not leukemia. But because it is very rare for a four-year-old child to get lymphoma and her disease is presenting like leukemia, we are doing the standard treatment for leukemia.”
The good news is that the change in diagnosis meant that Claire’s cancer was considered low risk.
Claire has responded very well to the chemotherapy. She has little nausea and is able to continue doing the things she loves – riding horses, dancing, and playing with her little brother. She also has been able to go to school, which makes her very happy. Claire should be done with her treatment in November.
Claire’s family has received tremendous support from their Dunwoody community. During September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Claire’s Crew held a walk to raise money for childhood cancer research. It was a very festive atmosphere with popsicles, bubbles, and lots of fun activities for the kids. The afternoon also raised $10,000 to fight childhood cancer!
“I can’t help her with the medical stuff,” said Kathleen. “But I have to do something. It is so important that we fund research that will lead to a cure for these kids. Claire was one of the lucky ones. When we are at the hospital, I look around and see the other kids, and my heart breaks for them.”
Though Claire will be done with her fight later this year, Claire’s Crew isn’t finished fighting for other kids with cancer. Kathleen and her family are planning a big event for 2023 and hope to raise even more than before.
We are thankful that Claire is doing so well. We are also grateful to join Claire’s Crew to fund research that will lead to better cures for kids with cancer.