Our battle with cancer.
Beating cancer, one smile at a time. Sara was born on January 28, 2008 at
Heywood Hospital in Gardner, MA. On April 16, 2008, a large lump was discovered
in her right bicep. Twelve days later, after two ultra-sounds and several
perplexed doctors, it was removed at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, MA.
Pathologists in Worcester and Boston examined the tumor over 2 weeks,
finally to come to a diagnosis of Melanocytic Neuroectodermal Tumor of Infancy,
an extremely rare form of cancer. There have only been approximately 120
confirmed cases of this cancer since 1918, with approximately 6 of those,
Sara's included, being malignant. The pathologists then pointed out that the
margins of the tumor were not clear, which meant that some of the abnormal cells
were still in her body. A second surgery was needed. On June 2, 2008, at just
over 5 months old, Sara underwent a second surgery to remove this disease from
her body. The second surgery was deemed a success and after many follow up
ultrasounds, the doctors are confident that they removed all of the cancerous
cells from her body. The good side of this tumor is that it normally does not spread to other parts
of the body, nor the blood. It does, however, quickly and aggressively grow,
which we saw before the second surgery.
Unfortunately, as family, friends and
supporters of Sara, there was very little that we could do. That is where events
like the Relay for Life come in. While any money that we raise for this event may
not specifically go into curing Sara or researching Melanocytic Neuroectodermal
Tumor of Infancy, there are hundreds of thousands of children with cancer, many of
these cases are worse than Sara's, requiring long hospital stays, radiation therapy,
etc. Our efforts and your donations would make a difference in the lives of these
children as well as adults who battle this disease on a daily basis.
I know how tight these times can be for everyone and I don't ask anyone to
take food from their, or their family's mouths. I simply ask that you do what
you can. We are hoping to run several fund raising events throughout this year
and into the future. Along with monetary donations for the Relay, we will need
volunteer time, goods and support from all of you. Join our Relay team. If you
can't walk, or even if you live across the country, your energy will go a long
Please note that Sara's Smiles is no longer raising money for the American Cancer
Society through the Relay for Life. Instead, any fundraising done will be done
to raise money for the UMass Worcester Pediatric floor.
Here is a list
of items that they need/want for their pediatric patients.