At age 6, Emily was diagnosed with cancer, a brain tumor. Two weeks later, the tumor was surgically removed. Fortunately, Emily did not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation treatments, but is facing long-term side effects from surgery and the location of the tumor. She also has endured severe bone fractures in her back, arm, and legs. She continues to require ongoing treatment, along with emergency room visits, aquatic therapy, physical therapy, pain management, behavioral support, tutoring, and more.
The five-year journey has presented Emily and her family with many challenges. Her mother Becky has lost several jobs due to time spent with Emily in treatment and inpatients stays. Her father, a mechanic who has been battling his own health issues, stays home and cares for Emily and her 17-year-old brother. Becky has to work two jobs to meet the needs of the family.
The family was introduced to The Dragonfly Foundation one year into Emily’s treatment when there was very little light in their lives. Dragonfly staff encouraged the family to attend Parents Night Out and other events as a way to connect with other dragonflies. The events provide times when they can take a break and connect with other families who are walking in their shoes. The family has also attended several performances at the Aronoff Center, various sporting events, concerts, and Thanksgiving Dinner, but Emily’s favorite is Redsfest! Emily describes The Dragonfly Foundation as “fun, exciting, and happy!” Through these events, Becky and other families have forged a strong bond and support system.
Becky also shared that the Dragonfly family has supported them with grace and love through the flood of their basement and during the passing of her grandmother.
Becky stated that “it is great to support research and treatment, but emotional support is also very important to the well-being of the patient and his/her family.” The Dragonfly Foundation is “a huge family and so much more. The fact that they enable us to do normal family things that we otherwise would not be able to afford or manage because of infection control concerns, is huge… Dragonfly provides a safe place for Emily to be a kid and to see us through the darkness.”
We are extremely appreciative of all the amazing supporters that have helped lift The Dragonfly Foundation for the past seven years. We hope that you will support our mission and our Dragonfly families this holiday season by donating at Dragonfly.org.
Christine & Ria