On November 18th, 2014 Savannah presented to the doctors complaining of pain in her left knee. She had written the pain off as a reoccuring sports injury. They performed an X-ray where the tumor was found. She was then set up for further testing and an MRI was completed the next day. The night of the MRI Savannah was informed that the tumor looked cancerous and further evaluation needed to be completed. A bone biopsy was then quickly set up and completed.
On November 24, 2014 Savannah was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is a type of bone cancer that is often found in children and young adults. Each year in the United States approximately 400 children and teens under the age of 20 are diagnosed. Many people think of bones as just parts of the skeleton or frame work of the body, but bones actually do a number of different things such as; protect vital organs, make a frame for the muscles, make new blood cells and act as storage for minerals such as calcium. Without bones the body would not be able to function as it does. Savannahs tumor is located in the femur (thigh) which is right above the knee and is a little over 2 inches long. The doctors are treating her very aggressively with 10 weeks of chemotherapy, surgery to remove the tumor and another 20 weeks of chemotherapy once the surgery is complete. She receives her chemotherapy treatments at Children’s hospital and is admitted the entire time of treatment. Her first round of chemotherapy was December 3rd, 2014. She has been in and out of the hospital with fevers and low blood counts since the completion of the first round. This has caused many challenging obstacles for Savannah and her family. Savannahs father Jeff owns and runs his own farm, while her mother Tonja owns and runs her own cleaning business. With that they are less fortunate and unable to take FMLA or paid leave from work to help at home and be in the hospital for savannah. With numerous trips to the hospital and spending countless hours caring for Savannah neither of them have been able to put 100 percent into their work making it difficult to stay pace with bills and unexpected costs.
Savannah is the most beautiful, caring, hardworking and strongest individual there is. We as a family are blessed and proud to love and call her our; daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece and friend. Savannah isn’t your typical senior in high school. She works harder than most her age, carries many responsibilities while striving to better herself and family. She has two half siblings and currently is the oldest at home with a younger brother and sister, with that comes many challenges. She has grown up on her family farm helping out every second she gets, while maintaining excellent grades and taking part in extracurricular activities such as: FFA, Volleyball and Basketball. Besides these responsivities she also has five more that mean the world to her and those are her horses. Tonto, Sahara, Corzona, Pete and Donkey
Ever since she was just a little girl the horses have been her life. Since the diagnosis with cancer Savannah’s independence has been taken from her. She has not been able to do the things she loves the most, her chores and spending time with the horses. She must walk using crutches to keep the weight off of the leg. Savannah is at high risk for breaking the bone in her leg which limits the amount of activity she can take part in. If able to get to the barn Savannah must wear a mask to keep from catching anything the horses might have, because of her compromised immune system. The crutches and mask limit her ability to enjoy the loves of her life.
With this battle come’s many ups and downs as well as sacrifices. Not only is she struggling with physically being independent, but also with the harsh reality of losing her hair. Almost every teenage girl you know takes pride in her self-appearance. Savannah on the other hand didn’t care about anything on the outside other than her beautiful golden locks. So when it came time to lose those golden locks, we found out who Savannah truly was. It was said well in a comment posted just shortly after we shaved her hair and a photo was posted to Facebook the comment stated “Amazing how hair can not only make some people look good, but for some... Hair actually takes away the focus and hides some of their best features. Savannah's eyes, skin, smile and inner beauty just radiate through now. Wow!!! And I use to think Demi Moore wore this look the best. You rock Savannah!!! “This is so incredibly true, her true beauty just radiates through her smile and eyes. Those eyes tell a story, a story of a strong and brave fighter. She is not only a fighter, but she will be a survivor.
She lives and breathes by this moto “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway” by John Wayne.
Please help to keep Savannah in the saddle while she starts her journey down the trail to recovery.
We have a long next 10-12 months ahead of us! 2015 please bring out family good health and lots of prayers!
- Angela Clark
- Janet Haack
- Lauren Wooll
- Anita Sprenger
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