If you asked us 189 days ago if we would be writing this right now, we would have said you were crazy. This is all still completely unbelievable.
Since our last update 1 month ago, a lot has happened. Lots of chemo and high hopes. A hospital stay with a blood transfusion. A PET scan. Bad news. A Ct scan 11 days later. More bad news.
The cancer inside Sam's body has begun to grow again. It has figured out how to get around the chemo that she was on. And it is AGGRESSIVE. Because of this, Sam's doctors have changed the type of chemo she will get in hopes of halting the cancer growth. They are hopeful. The new chemo started on Monday. It will be 5 days this week and 6 days next week. A week off, and then repeat. We will find out her progress after that second cycle. In the meantime, Sam will be meeting with the radiologist and surgeon in the next couple of weeks, and we can hopefully tackle this from a few different angles.
Sam is the definition of a true warrior. Through all of these ups and downs, she continues to fight, and is more positive than ever. Her attitude about this seriously keeps all of us going.
More updates to come soon, and hopefully nothing but good news. Let's keep the fight going for our girl. She needs all of the love, support, and prayers, she can get. Sam feels that she is already healed and will get through this, so please keep that positive energy going for her.
"Once you choose hope, anything is possible." -Christopher Reeve
Dear Family and Friends,
I wanted to give everyone a quick update on Samantha's progress. After round 2 of chemo a few weeks ago, the doctors were a little concerned and ordered an early PET scan. Waiting for results from a scan might be the longest, worst kind of waiting. It is as if the world stops working. 3 days seem like 3 weeks. Torture. But guess what?? The spot on Sam's lung is so minuscule, it is just about gone, and both tumors have shrunk significantly. Hallelujah!! Needless to say, the doctors are pleased with how things are panning out so far. WE are pleased with how things are panning out. Chemo, along with a few tests, will continue for the next couple of months. After this, surgery may be an option. Fingers crossed!
Sam is hanging in there. In fact, she.is.KILLING.IT. Through the most awful side effects, she continues to shock us with her strength and positive attitude. She never seizes to amaze us.
I have to say, until there is something concrete, something positive on paper, it is hard not to lose sight of hope. But let me just say, hope DOES pay off, and I am hanging onto every last shred of it. I know that the next few months will be long and hard-fought, but I also know the fight will be well worth it in the end.
So, get your hopes up, everybody, because we are all fighting this battle for our girl. Let's go kick cancer's ass!
Happy New Year to all! I (Sandra) know this update is long overdue; it seems as though the holidays got the best of me. The month of December marked Sam's first round of chemo at Sloan. Let me just say that chemo SUCKS (to put it lightly). With it comes lots of other setbacks and ailments, and there is nothing pretty about it. She happens to be getting some of the most potent medications out there, and it is no joke. IT BETTER BE WORKING. The first 2 weeks after her treatment were pretty awful, but things started to look up from there. Sam got to play some soccer, go snowboarding, and take a trip to Germany for a mental break and some international work. Her amazing spirit and attitude continued through it all. Today completed her second round of chemo. In the upcoming weeks (before round three), there will be a new scan in order to monitor progress thus far. Fingers crossed, everyone. I am confident in 2014. New year = new beginnings and good health for all. I am extremely hopeful. After all, without hope, what would we be fighting for?? My gratitude continues, and can never be fully expressed, for all of the love and support that Samantha and my family continue to receive. Without all of you amazing people in our lives, none of this would be possible. More updates to follow in the coming weeks.
With it being Christmas Eve I wanted to make sure to reach out and once again thank everyone for their continued prayers and support. My family and I are forever thankful for each and every one of you.
Since being at Sloan Kettering I have made a lot of progress, and treatments are going well, so we are continuing forward. I hope that in the craziness of the holiday season everyone is able to take time to spend with loved ones and focus on what they are grateful for... as Bob Proctor says, "what you think about and thank about you bring about".
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from my family to yours
Dear family and friends,
I apologize about the delay, I know that an update is LONG overdue. As we returned home from Mexico, Sam and my family questioned what the next step should be regarding her treatment. While we learned a great deal in Mexico and continue to do some of the treatments (diet & neutraceuticals), Sam really questioned if it was right for her. She decided that she would like to look at options a little closer to home, options that had more of an integrated holistic approach. So, we landed at Sloan Kettering last week. It was a great experience and we really liked her doctor. He explained all of his thoughts, recommendations and different options. He is not opposed to alternative therapies, but thinks that with Sams rare case it must be done along with chemo. Sloan does have an alternative medicine department as well. After all of this, Sam has decided to go through with starting chemo this Wednesday, and will continue in her search of different holistic therapies. She continues to fight hard, and continues to be the strongest, BRAVEST girl I've ever known. As we all begin this week after a wonderful thanksgiving weekend, keep our girl in your thoughts and prayers as she will be starting the hardest part of her journey thus far. Thank you all for your continued support.
Sam and I are coming into the home stretch of our time here in Mexico. The treatment plans have changed slightly since we have arrived, but we are confident they are for the best. Sam is looking and feeling really well! Because so many people helped share her story, she also happens to be a legend around here. People that haven't yet met her seem to know who she is (could we expect anything less??)! Let's keep it going :) We are so appreciative and completely grateful for all of the love and support everyone continues to give. I really cannot begin to explain to you all what it means to our family to have each and every one of you as a part of our lives. Even though the road ahead looks to be a long one, I am confident we will beat this animal because of your constant support. I know it is not enough, but thank you all from the very bottom of my heart.
Just wanted to update everyone who has been visiting this site. Mexico has been taking wonderful care of me, and more specifically the entire staff here at Oasis Of Hope. I can easily say that I made the right choice in coming here for treatments. Once again thank you's aren't enough...
Lotts of love,
Sandra and I have safely arrived in Tijuana! Already feeling completely healed and loving it here! I'm trying to come up with more creative ways to say "thank you", but for now that is what I will keep saying.
I hope everyone back home in Jersey is enjoying the weather, it's peacefully warm here :)
Lots of love,
MEXICO, HERE I COME.
It's official, the first round of treatment has been covered, and I will be the flight to recovery by Sunday morning! I could not be more thankful to each and every person who donated, sent their prayers, and positive thoughts. I am ecstatic to start this journey and document the success so that others can become believers themselves!
Much more to come,
When we launched this page on Monday, I had no idea just how quickly this all would happen. It's heart warming to see how many people want nothing but to offer their support and well wishes. Some of the names are old friends, and some I don't even know personally. Whoever is reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart...this whole experience is something I will never forget, and you all played a big role in that. My family is so very appreciative and truly blown away by the magnitude of support and positivity. On Sunday I told my parents not to worry and that we would have sufficient funds by Thursday (today)... I wasn't sure how, but I was confident it would happen. We hit our goal a day early. A positive mental attitude will manifest anything for you if you have belief to back it up.
I wish there were more ways to say "thank you" in words, but for now that's all there is.
Hi! Thank you for visiting the site. My name is Sandra Franco, Samantha's sister. I wanted to help create this page to raise funds for treatment for my little sister. On September 18, 2013, my life as I know it stopped dead in its tracks. This is the day I found out that my freshly 22 year old, 'baby' sister, the light of my life and most other people in her life, has cancer. Not just any type of cancer, but synovial sarcoma, something I had never before heard of. This is a rare, aggressive type of cancer that normally occurs in the soft tissue of the arms or legs, but can spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, my sister's 'rare' cancer has grown and spread to her pelvis and is said to be in stage IV. There is no stage V.
Meet Samantha. Youngest of 3 sisters, 3 best friends. Avid soccer player and all-around athlete since the third grade. Granted a scholarship for soccer, but chose to stay close to home to be near family. Went on to help bring her county soccer team to #3 in the nation. All her life, all my sister has ever talked about was helping others. If asked what she wanted to 'be' or 'do' it was travel the world and make people's lives better. She dreams big, and I'm confident she can make it happen.
So now this. CANCER. As i said, my life stopped. I have become consumed with researching and knowing every last horrible detail about this disease, different treatment options, outcomes. But not Sam. She has vowed that this 'roadblock' will not stop her life, will not bring her down. She is possibly the most positive, strongest, and stubborn person I have ever met. Don't get me wrong. Sam has been doing plenty of research, but in a different way than most of us. She has been educating herself on 'other' ways of attacking this beast. The alternative methods. She believes in a whole body/mind approach and a lifestyle change to beating this disease. Whereas traditional methods mostly use only medicine and surgery (Sam is not eligible for surgery because of the advanced stage), alternative methods use nature, exercise, and the mind, holistic techniques. Many times, these alternative methods are used with a combination of low-dose traditional medicine. It is really very interesting, and my family has all learned to accept some of these practices. There are many success stories, as there are with traditional methods. Is it a guaranteed cure? Definitely not. But then again, neither is chemotherapy. Sam keeps saying, "there's no guarantee either way, so I might as well do something I truly BELIEVE in." Which is why I now know at a time like this there is only HOPE and BELIEF. This, I know, is the exact truth that she wants to share with the world.
Sam, with the help of my parents, has looked into many different health and wellness centers that treat people just like her. Unfortunately, the best places seem to be far from us, very expensive and not covered by insurance. With much research, she has narrowed it down to the one she believes is the best match for her- Oasis of Hope, located in Mexico. This center combines conventional and alternative treatments, which is what Sam is ultimately hoping for. A large down payment is Samantha's ticket in the front door. My biggest fear is time. Time is precious. With every day that passes and my sister is not getting treatment, the cancer is growing.
Please help my family and me get my sister treated and CURED. She truly believes this is the path that she is supposed to take. When she overcomes this I know that she will continue on her path to help people all over the world. For this, we cannot wait.
No donation is too small, all are welcome and so very appreciated.