Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in the very early forms of nerve cells (neuroblasts) found in a fetus. It is such a cruel cancer, it primarily occurs in children under the age of 2 years. Gabby’s cancer is ‘high risk’, meaning she could develop late recurrences of the disease.
Under the guidance of the Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan (edit: and to give credit where credit is absolutely due, the wonderful people at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan,) this tiny girl has undergone surgery, high dose chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and radiation therapy. She is not yet two years old. Recently, her parents posted with glee that they are on to antibody therapy and ‘only’ 60 more nights in the hospital.
‘Only’ 60 more nights in the hospital.
We are lucky in the United Kingdom in that the NHS is free at source, that we’re not bound to high insurance premiums and other charges. Not only are Gabby’s parents - residents of Flint, Michigan - naturally devastated and haunted by the diagnosis and treatment, but the financial effects will last for decades. Her antibody treatment trial – vital for her to stay in remission – is not covered by insurance.
Both the disease and the treatment may cause late and long-term side effects, including hearing loss, hypothyroidism, growth deficiency, learning difficulties, behavioral problems and an absence of adult teeth.
Her parents, Ashley and Bill, are genuinely good people. Kind, gracious, affable, humble and good-natured. There’s a cruelty in that it happened to a baby, that it happened to them, that it happened to people I truly love.
In lieu of leaving gifts from the History Faculty, I ask that you give and give generously. Help them pay for the antibody treatment. Help them with future bills. Help them so they can afford incidentals. When this treatment is finished, help them make sure that her two older brothers, Matthew and Owen, don’t feel so angry and hurt that this could happen to them. This happened to an entire family. They've been punished enough by cancer. I don't want to see them punished any further.
By the way, her hair is growing back. She’s got red hair and it is the most beautiful peach fuzz you’ve ever seen.
For regular updates, please visit https://www.facebook.com/gabriellablastoma?fref=ts
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