Help Alpha Driggs Beat Cancer

This is Alpha

Alpha is the favorite little sister of Glory and Linus and the sweetest baby you may ever meet. She loves hugging her dollies tight, climbing all sorts of things she shouldn’t, and saying “Ta-da!” when she is proud of herself. People ask all the time, “Is she always this nice?!”  The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”  

In October 2020, one month before her first birthday, Alpha was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a malignant tumor of the retina.  Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer that affects only 250 to 300 children per year in the US. The inoperable tumor has left Alpha with partial blindness in her left eye. While she was diagnosed before the cancer spread to any other part of her body, the tumor is at a very serious stage. Alpha has already started intensive chemotherapy to stop the growth of the tumor and ensure it does not spread. 

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Why Alpha & her family need our help

So many friends and loved ones have reached out to see how they can help and support Alpha, Sierra and Tom as they start this fight.  This fund will be a way to show that support since COVID-19 and Alpha's weakened immune system severely restrict how friends can help in physical ways.

We are hoping to raise enough funds to help Sierra and Tom pay for out of pocket medical costs for the many treatments Alpha needs, cover hotel and travel expenses as they go back and forth between Virginia and Philadelphia, and to help lift the burden of the unexpected expenses of seeing a child through a very long and difficult fight against cancer. Costs, as you can imagine, have already been significant - and there  will be many more to come. 

 Sierra has had to put her midwifery practice on hold indefinitely in order to manage Alpha’s care and hold Alpha, Glory and Linus close while fighting this fight.  Tom's work must also pause with the travel and stays in Philadelphia. This will be a long battle but we know Alpha and her family can do this - with your help! 
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About the journey Alpha is embarking on

Only a small handful of doctors specialize in this rare type of cancer. It is a blessing for Alpha and her family that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Wills Eye Hospital is only a few hours drive from their home in Virginia.  Alpha will need to receive monthly chemotherapy treatments which necessitate a full week stay each month. 

On top of the monthly chemotherapy, Alpha will receive monthly eye exams under general anesthesia to monitor her tumor and its response to treatment.  
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While the length of treatment is dependent on her tumor’s response, most children require between 3-6 months of this type of chemotherapy.  She will also be monitored with regular MRIs and weekly blood counts.  If at any point along this course her tumor is not responding positively, Alpha will have her eye removed and be fitted for a prosthesis in order to save her life.  The advanced stage of Alpha’s tumor makes a recurrence very likely.  Sierra and Tom have been told by the oncology team to expect a recurrence at some point during this battle.  Additionally, children with retinoblastoma are at risk of secondary cancers.  For these reasons close monitoring will continue for Alpha’s entire life.  She will not be considered in remission until she is 5 years old, or longer, depending on her age at her last recurrence. 

There are still so many unknowns.  What we do know is that Alpha has been a special soul since the day she was born.  We will do all we can to make sure she stays right here with us where she belongs. Please feel free to share and forward this to anyone who may want to contribute. The Casillas/Driggs family will be forever grateful for any and all help along the way. 

Thank you in advance for your support and prayers. It means more than you know to this good family and to all of us who love them. 
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Donations

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  • Debra and George Crain 
    • $50 
    • 20 mins
  • Beth Robson 
    • $100 
    • 1 hr
  • Cynthia Cox 
    • $20 
    • 2 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 4 hrs
  • Shireen Dodini 
    • $100 
    • 14 hrs
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Summer Casillas 
Organizer
Arlington, VA
Sierra Casillas 
Beneficiary
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