Our daughter Abrielle is a beautiful, spirited, high-energy girl. She has always brought so much love, laughter and joy to our family. She loves to be active and does everything with such passion, it is truly inspiring! On Christmas 2019, Abrielle woke up complaining of pain in her neck and back. She was not her usual ball of energy and excitement. A day later she woke up and said her leg hurt and as the week went on, she did not want to walk on it. We took her to urgent care where they took x-rays thinking Abrielle had broken a bone. Everything came back normal and she started to feel better over the next few weeks.
Over the next two months Abrielle continued to be active enjoying dance class and her youth basketball team at the local Y. However, a few days each week she would be very tired and occasionally complain of leg pain. We knew something wasn’t right and took her to her doctor for blood work and tests at the beginning of March 2020. That is when our world was rocked and our nightmare began. An ultrasound showed a very large tumor in her abdomen. She had to have a nephrostomy tube put into her left kidney as the tumor was pressing on it and it was not working properly. A few days later Abrielle was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. Two weeks later the COVID crisis hit.
We began chemo treatment at our home hospital. Scans showed the tumor had shrunk some, but surgery to remove it was going to be very challenging. We had been researching other hospitals that specialize in neuroblastoma. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City kept coming up and was also recommended by other parents we had met. We heard wonderful things about the surgeons there and we transferred Abrielle’s care to MSKCC in July 2020. Abrielle’s tumor was so large she had to have two tumor resection surgeries to remove it. This was followed by more chemo treatments, radiation, and several rounds of immunotherapy. Through it all our brave and strong girl kept fighting and by the grace of God, she always recovered quickly. However, COVID presented additional challenges.
COVID restrictions allowed one caregiver at the hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House. This meant our family could not be together. This was tough emotionally for Abrielle and our family and we were concerned with it affecting her recovery. In the fall of 2020 we discovered Band of Parents, a wonderful organization dedicated to funding new pediatric cancer treatments. They also subsidized our hotel stays and allowed our family to be together. All four of us, including Abrielle’s brother Ayden, were there to support Abrielle as she recovered from the very painful treatments of outpatient immunotherapy. Because of the Band of Parents’ support, we were able to keep up with homeschooling and create some wonderful memories together in NYC. Along with the hardships, our family has shared many joyful experiences together as well. As Abrielle continues her fight with Neuroblastoma, we are forever grateful to Band of Parents for their support. Please find it in your hearts to donate to BOP so they can continue to give kids with pediatric cancer and their families hope and a long, joy-filled life.
With gratitude and love,
Nicole, Todd, Ayden and Abrielle Lynch