This is Victoria. She doesn’t know it yet, but in a few months she will be diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare malignant liver cancer that affects, on average, 1 in a million children… and her life will never be the same
On a fated September day, a playful tickling of her tummy revealed a mass in her abdomen which was quickly confirmed by an ultrasound. Fearing the worst, she was admitted to Texas Children’s Cancer Center where the next diagnostic studies (MRI, blood tests, biopsy) were promptly and efficiently scheduled. Victoria was diagnosed with stage III hepatoblastoma on Oct. 1, 2015. This meant her tumor could not be removed by surgery. Victoria would have to receive chemotherapy prior to even discussing whether she would qualify for tumor resection or a liver transplant.
Victoria received four cycles of chemotherapy to reduce the size of her tumor while her oncologists, surgeon, radiologists and liver transplant team coordinated efforts to determine the best surgical approach and lay the groundwork for a possible liver transplant. Victoria underwent a successful complete surgical resection of her tumor on Jan. 6, 2016, and ultimately did not require a liver transplant. Should she have required an imminent transplant, it was heartening to know that the outstanding liver transplant team was ready.
Today, Victoria is in remission. The darkest clouds have dissipated and her parents hope to continue to watch their daughter thrive and develop. “The experience of treating Victoria’s hepatoblastoma has not only taught us to be the best parents we can be, but has also brought out the absolute best in everyone we have met,” says Victoria’s parents. Victoria has another chance at life.
A child’s second chance at life is what CURE is all about. Stories like Victoria’s is what drives us to continue the fight in order for more children to have the same opportunity at life. Victoria is an example that childhood cancer can be defeated, and with the proper amount of support and research for a cure, more children – whose whole lives are still in front of them – will be able to win the battle.