Childhood Cancer. I’m sure we have all heard of a child having cancer. It’s easy to forget about and go on about your daily life, unless that child is yours. Your world stops. Lauren is an amazing 6 year old girl who my family was lucky enough to cross paths with during last years dance season as my 6 year old and Lauren took ballet together. I am sure that 6 letter word is something Lauren’s family thought they would never hear, but in the summer of 2016 any parents worst nightmare became a reality for this sweet family. Here is a little of Lauren’s Story from her Go Fund Me Page. Over Memorial Day weekend, Lauren was brought to Condell for bruising and swelling around her eyes which was initially attributed to allergies. She was lethargic and sensitive to cold and was continually getting the chills. While there, they performed a head CT that showed a mass behind both eyes and drew her blood which showed low hemoglobin levels. That prompted a transfer to Lutheran General in Park Ridge. There Lauren received blood transfusions as well as several other scans of her entire body. The scans revealed Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in her adrenal gland (near her kidney), brain, spine, sternum and in her bone marrow. We’ve been assured by her oncology team that neuroblastoma responds very well to treatment which is why Lauren is starting chemotherapy immediately. 10/17/17 – We got the results back from Lauren’s MRI and bone marrow biopsy and they are NEGATIVE for cancer cells! The MRI looked specifically at her brain, head, and spine. This was important because she had extensive tumor growth on her brain, eye orbits, and all along her spinal dura. She has responded so well to the chemo and was able to clear the disease past detection on scans. Her bone marrow has also been cleared of cancer cells! This is such a relief after the many months of treatment. Unfortunately, the treatment did cause Lauren to acquire partial hearing loss. We were told this was a likely possibility and it has been confirmed. She will be fitted for hearing aids in a few months. She still has a long road ahead of her, as this type of cancer is very aggressive and has a high recurrence rate in Lauren’s age group. We are moving into her next treatment steps to hopefully prevent relapse. This next step is most likely going to be the most challenging of her treatments so far. She will be admitted on Sunday to Comer’s Children’s Hospital for her first of two Stem Cell Transplants. She will be given a very high dose of chemo for 6 days and then will have her own stem cells infused to help her recover. This will hopefully kill any residual cancer cells that cannot be detected on scans but, in doing so, she will be completely immunocompromised. This will require long hospital stays around 4- 6 weeks at a time and isolation precautions until 100 days after the second transplant. During this time she will only be allowed visits from a few adult family members and only see her brother during her short break between transplants at home. She will most likely spend the holidays in the hospital. We trust her care team to support us through this next step and are prepared to do everything we can to get Lauren closer to a cancer-free childhood. Please keep Lauren, her family and her doctors in your prayers and she walks into this next step of treatment. She is such a fighter and is going to continue chopping down that tree. We love you Lauren!