The last year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs for our family. Never would I have dreamed my child, MY child would be diagnosed with cancer. There were no signs. On December 21, 2018, while we were on vacation in New York, my 2-year-old daughter Izzy simply would not wake up. She suffered a massive seizure in her sleep and was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor. This resulted in 3 successive brain surgeries to immediately remove the tumor in NY. The rest of the year is a blur. On January 30th, we were airlifted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where Izzy spent a month in rehab to regain her speech, left-sided mobility, and general self-sufficiency. We were never given a clear diagnosis and probably never will be, but we were told that Izzy would be subjected to the most intense chemo possible in the hopes of avoiding radiation at all costs.
From March until August, Izzy underwent 6 rounds of high dose chemo, 3 bone marrow transplants, and countless procedures. There were many hard days, but even after the last of her hair fell out, Izzy never lost that sparkle in her eye or contagious giggle. Then one magical day in September, Izzy rang that bell at Children’s Hospital, signifying that her treatment was finally over, and she could return home for good.
Each day I am simply amazed by everything that Izzy has overcome. I am inspired by her energy, strength, and joy that she constantly exudes. Today, no one would ever be able to tell the journey that this little girl has been on just by looking at her. Reflecting on last year, we still vividly remember the monitors beeping at night, the sleepless evenings in the ICU, and the many trips to the operating room, but we also have the happiest of family memories thanks to the Dragonfly Foundation. The Dragonfly provided our family with a safe, welcoming environment that enabled our family to experience things we would never have thought possible. We walked the fields of Great American Ballpark and got seats right behind the pitcher’s mound, and Izzy’s face beamed with pride as she rode her first roller coaster at Stricker’s Grove (not once but four times in a row). We will never be able to thank the Dragonfly Foundation enough for all they did to physically and emotionally support our family. They gave us just what we needed right when we needed it the most, even when we didn’t know what to ask for.