Aaliyah's Journey

Aaliyah just turned 6 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk Neuroblastoma cancer on July 14th 2014.  She is raised by her loving parents in Houston, TX.

     Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body.  Neuroblastoma most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, which have similar origins to nerve cells and sit atop the kidneys.  However, Neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and in the chest, neck and near the spine, where groups of nerve cells exist.  Neuroblastoma most commonly affects children age 5 or younger, though it may rarely occur in older children.  There is very little known about why Neuroblastoma occurs, or about what factors increase the risk for occurrence.  7 out of 10 cases are not diagnosed until the disease has spread to other parts of the body. Neuroblastoma accounts for approximately 8-10% of all childhood cancer diagnoses.  This very rare childhood cancer has only 600 new cases per year in the United States or equivalent to 1 in every 100,000 children.  There is no known cure for relapsed Neuroblastoma.

     Aaliyah first complained that her legs started hurting and had trouble walking with a slight limp.  Instead of playing we noticed that she would sit more often on the couch with her legs bent up to her chest.  Everyday it seemed to be getting worse.  We took her to the doctors and they thought it was Tendonitis so they gave her Ibprophen.  She started feeling better then the following week she had a fever with body aches and a stiff neck so we took her back to the doctors.  They assumed it was Meningitis so he told us to go straight to the emergency room.  We spent the day there and eventually were admitted.
     There they found a huge mass tumor (13.6cm by 10.5cm) in her stomach pushing on her kidney.  On the following day they took a biopsy of the tumor to find out what type of mutation the tumor is.  We sat with these amazing team of doctors and heard the most devastating news a parent/family member could ever hear.  It was Neuroblastoma cancer.  Then they did several tests including a bone scan to determine if and where it spread.  The cancer cells has spread into her bone marrow; bones, hips, thighs, spine, shoulder blade, ribs, lymphnodes and cheek bones.

     Aaliyah has to go through intense chemo until the tumor shrinks down small enough for surgery to be removed.  Followed by radiation and stem cell replacement for the bone marrow. Thank God we live so close to the most amazing doctors in the world.  It's going to be a long year of treatment for this cute little Neuroblastoma warrior.

     This amazing support system will help give Aaliyah and her family the strength to deal with the emotional and financial challenges ahead.  Once again, thank you all for your support and please keep Aaliyah and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
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