On July 15, 2010, our world came crashing down. Our 15 –year- old daughter Carly was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) which is a leukemia more commonly diagnosed in adults. (See Carly’s Story). Life as we knew it was changed forever.
For almost a year, Carly and our family would call C.H.O.P (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) our home while still trying to maintain a “normal” existence for our two sons who were 16 and 11 at the time. It was a year of living separately and of sleepless nights, high stress, sheer exhaustion, high anxiety, and utter fear. It was also a time of hope and keeping positive thoughts forever in our minds. We were so fortunate and grateful for Carly to have received her care in one of the best pediatric cancer facilities in the country, while our family, friends, and community rallied around us.
Experiencing the journey on the cancer planet, we grew closer and learned a lot about ourselves and the cancer world. We became bonded with other families on the oncology floor whose cancer warriors were fighting each and every day to beat their disease.
Seeing children and their families suffer with a terrible disease such as cancer on a daily basis takes its toll. For us, it made us frustrated and infuriated that any child should have to fight for his or her life. But it also gave us hope and encouragement to hear of success stories and to see the kindness and generosity of families, friends, and community.
Throughout the journey we have learned how pediatric cancer research is practically last in line and receives very, very little funding. This is unacceptable to us. We have also learned that Carly’s diagnosis of AML is less common in children, making up about 15-20% of pediatric leukemias. Because of this, we are focused on raising funds for pediatric AML research.
We decided to form The Kick Leuk Foundation to help fund pediatric leukemia research and to support families dealing with the disease. We are striving to make a difference by raising awareness about pediatric cancer. We dare you to join us!
Bob & Suzanne Stephens