Miranda was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma on September 6, 2007. She endured so much during her treatment. There were times I thought the treatment itself was going to kill her. She lost one-third of her weight and got so thin I could see her hip bones on her back. She endured 14 rounds of chemo, 17 blood transfusions, almost 200 days in the hospital and nearly 150 injections all at the age of three. All she wanted to do was go to preschool. After treatment Miranda had to wear leg braces and have weekly physical therapy for 15 months due to neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by the chemo. She rarely complained during all of this. When all her friends were playing dress up and having tea parties, Miranda was showing the nurses how to properly flush her central line and kept a vomit bucket at her side like most children did a stuffed animal. She was a force to be reckoned with while in the hospital, she knew what she wanted and how she wanted it. That determination hasn’t change today. As the youngest of four girls, Miranda doesn’t let her voice go unheard. The things that she comes up with sometimes make me laugh and cry at the same time. One day she was playing with one of her sisters and they were arguing about how many stuffed animals they each had. Miranda had more, lots more, her defense of why “Well, I had cancer.” Miranda will get regular scans until just before her ninth birthday, when she is five years out from the end of treatment. She will get echocardiograms every few years for the rest of her life to watch for long term effects from the chemo. Like every other child I have met fighting cancer, she has endured more in her short life than most people could ever imagine. I am so proud of everything she has accomplished, beating cancer is a huge accomplishment I’d say.
Two weeks from the day we first found the lump we were told that Miranda had Ewing’s Sarcoma of the soft tissue of the chest wall. That was September 6, 2007. The first four months of her treatment were a nightmare. We literally lived at the hospital. During those four months Miranda lost 12 pounds (1/3 of her 37 lb. body weight), got 6 rounds of chemo and numerous infections. To say she was very sick wouldn’t do her justice. On December 21 she underwent surgery to remove the tumor and insert a g-tube to feed her directly into her stomach. The next four months went a lot smoother. Miranda was only admitted to the hospital for chemo, she had 8 more rounds before her treatment was done. On April 27, 2008 Miranda received her last dose of chemo. She spent the next 15 months in physical therapy to help treat the nerve damage in her legs caused by the chemo. Miranda continues to get regular scans to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.
As a mother I will always fear the cancer returning. As a mother I have been completely changed. As a mother I can’t turn my back on the knowledge that I gained through my daughter’s fight against cancer. As a mother I knew I had to do everything in my power to make sure other mothers don’t have to see their children go through what mine did. As a mother I decided to shave my head to show my daughter and the rest of the world that kids get cancer too. I began the task of getting other moms of children who have cancer to join me. Initially the word was spread through PAC2, a grassroots effort at raising awareness for childhood cancer. Along the way other online resources were used including facebook and childhood cancer support groups. The number 46 comes from the statistic 46 children are diagnosed with cancer each weekday. So 46 mommas shave for the brave was formed. Together we will make a difference for our children and the 46 children that will be diagnosed each weekday.
We ARE 46 Mommas on a mission to raise awareness, raise funds for research and inspire others to help fund a cure for childhood cancer.
Each year a new class of 46 Mommas is inducted into the cause to empower and engage mothers of children with cancer. The number 46 is significant. On average, each weekday, 46 families receive the news that their child has cancer. Through increasing awareness of childhood cancer and raising funds for childhood cancer research by shaving our heads, we hope to one day be a group that no longer needs to exist.