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tommorows children

 

 

 

 

 

Kendra’s Story 

 

In the fall of 2010, as our daughter Kendra began her freshman year of high school, our lives were suddenly turned upside down.  Kendra was just 14 years old and had already accomplished so much.  She was an honor student, a competitive dancer for many years and had just made the cheerleading squad at her new school.  She was looking forward to a fun freshman year until one horrifying day when it was all taken away.  Kendra started feeling tired and dizzy during cheerleading practices, which gradually lead to headaches and nausea.  Over the course of several weeks, we could not figure out what was wrong.  After numerous trips to the pediatrician and then a neurologist, she was finally scheduled for an MRI the following Tuesday.  Over the weekend, however; her symptoms became so severe we had to rush her to the emergency room at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.  This is where an emergency MRI revealed any parents worst nightmare; Kendra had a brain tumor in the back of her brain that had to be removed as soon as possible.  She was immediately admitted into ICU where a temporary drain was implanted to relieve the pressure in her head caused from hydrocephalus.  Two days later, the entire tumor was removed by the amazing neurosurgeon at Hasbro, who then confirmed it was malignant.  The tumor was medulloblastoma, a cancer that affects the entire central nervous system.     







So many questions raced through our minds as we tried to make sense of it all.  How did this happen to our daughter?  How do we tell her she has cancer?  How will we get through this?  In no time at all, many new people came to our side. Little did we know that many of them were part of the Tomorrow Fund and would hold the answers to many of our questions.  Dr. Harrison, Dr. Sauer, our social worker, Stephanie and family counselor, Donna were all there for us and amazingly, always seemed to appear at just the right moment.  Many of them have had their own personal experience with cancer.  Kendra’s treatment protocol consisted of 6 weeks of brain and spinal radiation, followed by 9 cycles of chemotherapy.  She required many clinic visits, blood transfusions, hospital stays and MRI’s.   Her treatment was spread out over the course of 18 months.   
Each time we visited The Tomorrow Fund Clinic we were greeted with a warm, welcoming smile.  The children always have crafts to do and games to play. The nurses there are so wonderful.  They joke around with the kids and always remember to do the little things that make them feel comfortable.  Our social worker helped us with work and school related issues.  We talked a lot about problems that came up and how to deal with them.  The tomorrow Fund also provided us with a parking pass to cover that expense. They also offer parent and patient support groups that our family found very helpful.  All of these things made a huge difference, so we could focus on getting our daughter through this.

 

Kendra also did something pretty amazing during her treatment.  She came up with a way to help The Tomorrow Fund.  When she was in the hospital for one of her cycles, she was looking for something to do.  She had a bead kit and some soda tabs she was saving and went on the computer to see what she could make.  She found some jewelry ideas and decided to make a bracelet.   She liked the way it came out so she made a few more.  She gave them to the nurses and doctors and in no time at all there was a huge demand for her bracelets.  So, she thought; “why not sell them and raise some money for The Tomorrow Fund?”   She now has a team of friends and family that help make bracelets to keep up with the demand.  Her bracelet business, Tabz-4-Tomorrow, has raised almost $8,000 to date for the very organization that supported her family through a very difficult time.  She found a great way to take something bad and turn it into something good.  She is pretty amazing!
Kendra has completed all of her treatment now and remains cancer free.  Her journey has been long and she definitely has some challenges ahead, but we consider ourselves lucky that our daughter’s cancer had a treatment protocol.  No child should ever have to suffer from this devastating disease and every day we pray for a cure for all.  Personally, we believe that the words children and cancer should never be in the same sentence, but if it should fall upon you, just know The Tomorrow Fund will be there.