Emilie has been so brave through all of this. As her picture shows, she loves swimming and everything was absolutely normal. This past year she joined a swim team and began having headaches in the water. At first, her mom and I didn't think too much of it because we have allergies and get headaches all the time. But, they kept coming so we saw a neurologist. An MRI later and Emilie was in the hospital. She has received incredible care at University Health in Shreveport, St. Jude and Le Bonheur in Memphis. She has bravely faced 2 surgeries, completed 30 treatments of radiation without being sedated, and said "Just do it" to countless needle sticks. The worst has been the physical and emotional devastation of steroids and some of the disabilities from the effects of the tumor. Yet, through it all, she laughs, plays and defiantly tries to be a normal 9 year old girl.
If you read about DIPG, radiation seems to be the only treatment, but it is not a cure... there is no cure. We are now at the point where we are forced into a real life game of "Let's Make a Deal" where we have to choose between what's behind door number 1, 2 or 3. This means finding the doors, qualifying for them and figuring out which door is the best for Em. That has been an impossible task for her mother and I. But, we have narrowed them down and are still waiting on consults.
This is where we need you. We have been researching options from San Francisco to London and everywhere in between. A couple are clinical trials where we will need to pay for travel, hotel, food etc... There is another procedure where we won't qualify for the trial, but could pursue it on a compassionate basis but based on reports, it is extremely expensive. It also may be the best hope for saving Emilie's life. Even though we don't have a decision on where we are going, we don't have any time to waste. We've been told that after initial treatment, this particular cancer comes back fast and mad. So, we have to launch this campaign now.
Our daughter is amazing and if anyone can beat this terrible monster, it is Emilie. We know what the statistics say... less than 1% of children make it past 5 years. But, we remain defiant! We could never repay the generosity and love that we have received, but we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and hope to pay it forward and help end all of childhood cancer one day.
This will still be a long war. She will have to travel back and forth to SF a lot. None of this would be possible without all of your love and generosity. Please follow her adventures on her Facebook page, "Friends of Emilie Gibson". Thank you for helping give Emilie a fighting chance. We love you all!
We also have several fundraisers in progress that you can join -
Through Emilie's Facebook page there is a link to buy her "Believe" t-shirts! There is only 13 days left, so hurry!
Saturday, December 17th - Cody Cooke and the Bayou Outlaws will be playing at Time Out. Bring a toy because this event will help Operation Santa as well as Emilie.
December 22nd - Chick-Fil-A on Airline and I-220 will have a benefit supporting Emilie from 5-8pm! We would love to see you all there!
Finally, in January, Kingston Elementary will be hosting a virtual archery competition! What a unique event!
Thank you to everyone for helping to support Em! She is doing great right now. We've seen signs that remind us that the tumor is still there and we are on edge as we sit and wait for our Christmas miracle. But, we believe in miracles and are determined to win this fight and "Just keep swimming!"
Lord , We praise you and thank you for your healing power. I pray that the cancer is in complete remission the next time that they scan Emilie's body, in Jesus name. I also ask you Lord to show this family your undeserved grace and mercy during this time. Have this challenge bring them closer to you and show them that you are the way, truth and the life. Emilie's life is precious and I know that you love her dearly. I ask that you be glorified, Lord. Invade the cancer cells and bring her to complete restoration in Jesus name. I command any pain and worry to be gone right now. Lord you are the great physician, and we ask right now that you intervene. We praise and love you Lord, in Jesus name.