In February of this year Carrigan Nelson of Portsmouth RI excitedly celebrated her 18th birthday. She was enjoying sharing her singing talent and was on her way as a vocalist while continuing her music education and her passion as a youth mentor. Since she was 12 Carrigan has been seen singing at charity events, performing in talent shows, at senior citizen gatherings and community events, many of which she and her family hosted to raise funds for those in need. She has always loved supporting and entertaining her community. She competed in Miss Teen USA RI and Miss America's Outstanding Teen RI earning the title of Miss Congeniatly 3 times demonstrating that kindness really counts. Carrigan had danced for 12 years and is an 8 time gold medalist and black belt in Taekwondo. She has always been very engaged and incredibly active. Everything changed when she began to struggle with low energy and other unexplained symptoms over a year ago.
Then while training for a Taekwondo championship she began experiencing extreme leg pain and a large mass appeared. After many months of misdiagnosis Carrigan told her parents that her intuition told her she had cancer. Her fears were confirmed when she was diagnosed in March with Osteosarcoma in her lower left leg. Osteosarcoma is a rare form of aggessive bone cancer. Intensive chemotherapy began immediately leading to heart breaking side effects and complications with many unexpected stays at Hasbro Children's Hospital. In June Carrigan underwent a 6 hour limb salvage surgery to remove the 10cm tumor and her fibula and surrounding muscle in her left leg. Cadaver nerves were implanted and her knee was removed and reconstructed and her ligaments and tendons were moved to other areas of her left leg to try and improve mobility. After a month of successful PT and rehab - chemo began again only to be interupted in late July when Carrigan almost succumbed to a deep bone infection as a result of her leg surgery. She underwent a second limb saving leg surgery. Unfortunately much of the mobility gained was lost. Immediately after surgery chemo resumed creating a very complex treatment plan going forward involving 6 weeks of home IV infusions 3 times daily, PT, wound care and almost weekly chemotherapy through late fall.
Since Carrigan's devastating diagnosis Carrigan and her family have remained positive and tried their best to remain financially independent. Unfortunately Carrigan's care related expenses are mounting. Her father Paul, a small business owner and general contractor, chose to put much of his projects on hold to care for their daughter. Her mother Tammy, Dir. of Operations/COO of the Housing Authority of Newport, has been struggling since March to balance a full time work schedule while spending sleepless nights at Hasbro. She is now looking to reduce her schedule. Carrigan's parents are by her side through her treatment. Her cancer is aggessive as her is treatment plan and the resulting complications often quickly become emergent.
The Nelson family are forever helping others and now they need some assistance to get through this challenging time so they can focus on Carrigan's care and wellness. They are staying strong, appreciate the support and encouragment and especially all those that keep them in their prayers. They promise to pay it forward and remain committed to their community and helping others. Carrigan accepts donations of new stuffed animals and small crafts and toys for pediatric chemo patients at Hasbro in loving memory of her fellow pediatric cancer warriors and dear friend Hannah Wertens and Gabe Littlefield both of whom are her guardian angels now. ♥️ Carrigan is strong and resilient like the mountain for which she is named - Mount Carrigan. She is determined to beat cancer and is already hard at work to raise awareness of Osteosarcoma which often mimics as a sports injury leading to initial misdiagnosis. Please help Carrigan and her family if you can whether it's through a donation, sending prayers, or spreading the word and raising awareness of Osteosarcoma. All is appreciated and the Nelson family is eternally grateful. They wish to extend heartfelt thanks to their co- workers, residents or the NHA communities, friends, family (especially Auntie Bonnie), fellow musicans and MMVS , Austin, all on Aquidneck Island and their entire Team Carrigan who have lifted them in countless ways.