Archive for May, 2012

This week we would like to honor Mattelyn “Mattie” Magill, a 10-year-old fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

After being diagnosed in July 2011, Mattie was taken to the hospital barely breathing and in renal failure.  The Leukemic cells spread throughout her body.  She was immediately placed on full dialysis and chemotherapy.  Within one month, the doctors told Mattie and her family that she was in remission.  She spent several more months in inpatient care at the hospital, going every other week.  As she got close to her maintenance phase and no longer having to stay in the hospital, she started experiencing headaches.  Doctors told her and her family that she relapsed, the leukemia was back and the only option is a Bone Marrow Transplant and full radiation.

Mattie Magill, a 10-year-old fighting leukemia

Mattie’s Aunt Christy told us that she is still going to school and even trying to do color guard.

Mattie is a very tough little girl. I have never heard her complain about being sick or why her not  one time.  I also work at a oncology office so I do know how difficult time this is for the patient as well as the family.

Mattie’s mother has had to take a leave of absence from work and focus on helping Mattie get better.  They have a donation page where you can help contribute to their growing household finances and medical bills as they help Mattie through this difficult time.  Please visit Mattie’s Fight.

If you know a child or teen who is battling or has battled cancer and you want to nominate them for our next HOC Hero of the Week, tell us about your hero and include photos and any links to their pages so we can support them!  Fill out the nomination form here: http://hatsoffforcancer.org/nominate-hero

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This week we are honoring Breonia Adam, described as an “amazing daughter”, who was diagnosed with Hypodiploid Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on January 5, 2010 at the age of 15.

Breonia developed complications and suffered pancreatitis and liver failure. She surprised all of her doctors when she recovered from this set-back and continued receiving chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in July, 2010. Her older sister, Felicia, was her donor.

A year later, her arm started hurting and within 6 months, she relapsed. Her family was crushed and the doctors said there was nothing that they could do. Demanding she receive treatment, Breonia’s mother saw that she start chemotherapy. Unfortunately, they found that her spleen and liver were now full of leukemia cells and she was admitted to the hospital for the last time on February 18, 2012. On February 26, 2012, Breonia earned her angel wings from a bleed in her brain caused by the chemo and low counts.

Breonia’s mother told us:

Breonia inspired all who has heard her story, she always kept a smile on her face. Her strength and courage with all she went through was so great, nothing could ever compare to it, ever. We were determined to prove the doctors wrong, she was the 1% of ALL cases being hypodiploid.

She will always be my hero, we miss her so much and she will forever be 17. She always said she would live with us forever, she was cremated, so she will be with us forever. She also said she never wanted to be an adult and have the responsibilities–she is forever 17, like she wanted it to be like that. She would tell me she wanted to fly around with wings, and now she can do that. She said if she could go back in time and change things, she said she would not change the fact of her being sick. Her sickness opened her eyes and made her see things differently, she was so easy going and never would be serious, she never wanted to worry me at all.

Breonia was truly an amazing daughter, and I wish she was still here with us.

If you’d like to know more about Breonia, or leave her family words of encouragement, you can visit her Facebook group.

We are so honored to call Breonia our HOC Hero of the Week!

If you know a child or teen who is battling or has battled cancer and you want to nominate them for our next HOC Hero of the Week, tell us about your hero and include photos and any links to their pages so we can support them!  Fill out the nomination form here: http://hatsoffforcancer.org/nominate-hero

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We all know someone who’s life has been changed by a cancer diagnosis.  Whether a family member, close friend, co-worker or perhaps even yourself, any type of cancer is sure to turn lives upside down.

A cancer diagnosis for a child is almost unbearable to wrap one’s mind around.  Yet, many of cancer’s victims are indeed our beloved little ones.  I know first hand how such a diagnosis turns lives upside down.

Several years ago my niece, at the age of 2 was diagnosed with Leukemia.  I remember well the frantic phone call from my sister as my niece was immediately hospitalized at a children’s hospital an hour from their home.   What followed was months of painful treatments, several hospital stays,  countless doctor appointments, hair loss, and a family who’s lives had taken a dramatic turn.  The dishes in the sink, the unswept kitchen floor and the half folded laundry no longer seemed important.  All focus was now on the treatment of this little girl.

During the 2 years of this ordeal, our family was impressed and forever grateful to all those who helped and gave support whether from near or far.  From the volunteers at Denver Children’s hospital who read stories to a child too sick to leave the bed to the hospital staff who so lovingly took care of her, to friends and neighbors who for 6 months arranged dinner to be brought to the family each Wednesday, the most harrowing day of treatment.  Each and every act of love and support was a blessing and did not go unnoticed.

When Hillary began to lose her hair, although a well-known and expected side effect of chemotherapy, it was nonetheless heartbreaking to watch.  Hats had never become so important.  Especially during the winter months.  Those donated to Hillary were comforting on so many levels.

Fast forward 15 years, gratefully that little girl is now 17,  healthy and planning for the rest of her life.  Some families aren’t so lucky.

Last fall when I first heard about the Hats Off For Cancer foundation,  my neice’s experience came flashing back and the hardship seemed like just yesterday.  So I jumped at the chance to help give back just a little bit .  We here at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau began collecting new hats for children throughout the month of September.  With the help of Wells Fargo Bank and many Sacramento residents, we were able to collect over 100 new children’s hats that were donated to and gratefully accepted by UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Thank you to Hats Off For Cancer for fascilitating this wonderful endeavor to help cancer’s youngest victims.

Alyssa Green, SCVB and http://www.sacramentokids.net

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