Makayla's Battle with Cancer

$92,523 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 1,104 people in 17 months

On February 23rd, Diana and Jonathan took Makayla to the doctor’s office after she spent the night throwing up. While they were there, they had a bump looked at from a fall she had earlier in the year. The doctors took an initial scan and discovered it was a tumor, the size of a baseball. A biopsy was performed the next morning.

After a week of tests, Makayla was diagnosed with high-risk, Stage IV Neuroblastoma. It’s devastating news that no parents want to hear, especially in their 16-month-old daughter. It came as a shock since Makayla has never shown any signs of discomfort or pain; she's been a happy child playing, laughing and growing.

Unfortunately, additional tumors were found in her cheek, kidney, spinal cord, and it has spread to 80% of her bone marrow.

Due to the size of the tumor which started near her kidney, she had a nephrostomy put in to drain the urine since it was pressing up against her kidney.  A port has been inserted into her chest as well so that she can receive her chemotherapy treatments. Makayla has already received her first round of chemo and the doctors are hoping chemotherapy will shrink the tumors so that no major surgery is needed.

After two weeks at the hospital, Makayla was finally able to go home and see her big brother Jayden. Both Diana and Jonathan are taking periods of unpaid leave for the foreseeable future to take care of their family.

Makayla will have to undergo at least 18 months of chemo and spend more overnights at the hospital. The family has a long road ahead of them and we’re hoping the funds will help alleviate some of the expenses that come with caring for a child with cancer.

Please keep Makayla, Diana, Jonathan, and Jayden in your thoughts.








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Makayla had surgery to remove the tumor in her abdomen area about 3 weeks ago.  The surgeon said he was able to remove all of the tumor he could see and they also did intraoperative radiation.  Which means they radiated the area while she was still in surgery to hopefully destroy the cancer cells that might have remained.  They also took out her 2 separate metaports and put in one double port.

She then did one round of chemo last week which lowered her counts and gave her a fever.  We are currently in the hospital until her counts come back up.  Makayla will be having a full workup including scans, MRI, and a few other procedures at the end of the month.  Hopefully the scans will show that she no longer has anymore cancer left in her body and she will be able to continue to the Antibodies treatment.  If she is in remission, she will have 5 cycles of Antibodies treatment.

Please pray that all the cancer cells were destroyed and that no new growths are found.  Thank you everyone for the continued support.
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Makayla has been through a lot these past couple of months. She was put through the intense MIBG therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. During that time she was not allowed to be near any one for more than a few minutes because she was radioactive. They decided to put her in the PICU because they felt she would have to be sedated the whole time. This turned out to be the case. Makayla would call for us and try to climb out of the crib because she did not understand why we could not hold her or console her. They put a soft cast around her arms so she would not be able to pull at all her tubing that was connected to her. The room was covered in plastic from wall to wall. Also had lead barriers around her crib to try and keep the radiation just to her. We had to be a certain amount of space apart from her, which they called "the safe zone." In order to track the radiation we were exposed to we wore a radiation tracker and had to scan our feet and hands after we left the room. It was emotionally hard on us and for Makayla. Hearing her calls and knowing we could not hold her while she was scared was heartbreaking. If the therapy worked she would have to do another round of MIBG therapy.
She was scanned a few weeks ago and unfortunately her results showed that the therapy did not work. The size of her tumor is still the same.

This past week Makayla was put through chemotherapy and antibodies that they used on her previously. She also had surgery to place another mediport into her body because she needs two lines to do this treatment. The treatment caused her a lot of bone pain and fevers. She was on a constant morphine drip to regulate the pain. She is home now and receiving daily shots to boost her ANC count (her body's ability to fight infections) and which also helps the treatment spread through her body. Once she sees the bandaid and gloves she knows its time for the shot. She walks over to the couch and gets ready for the shot. She cries but knows she has to do it. She has come accustomed to all of this treatment and has been so brave through it all. We have watched her grow so much during this past year from a baby into a little girl. We pray that this treatment works. We continue to ask to keep her in your prays and thoughts. Makayla will do another cycle of the chemotherapy and antibodies and will return to CHOP for scans.
At the hospital for her chemo/antibodies treatment
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It's been one year since Makayla was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer and our lives changed forever.
For awhile her treatment was working and we thought she was cancer free. We started thinking about her finishing up her treatment and being able to lead a normal life again. Unfortunately, what we feared the most has happened, Makayla's cancer has returned. The MIBG scan picked up active cancer cells in the primary spot near her kidney. It has been a hard week for all of us. We went to the Children's hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to get a second opinion on her next steps. They decided that the MIBG radiation therapy would be the best for her. She will be starting the treatment next week. We have entered her into a study and she was selected to do the therapy with chemotherapy. The chemo is supposed to make the radiation stronger. During her time in the therapy she will be infused with radiation for two hours. She will also be taking a oral chemo for about 15 days. While she is doing the MIBG radiation we can not be close to her and she will be in a lead shield. Only one person is allowed in with her at a time. This will be hard because Makayla is used to being close to us. This might even be more difficult for her than the radiation therapy. They will give her a variation of drugs to keep her calm and loopy. She will be in there for a few days because we have to wait for the radiation to leave her body. When she is at a safe level of radiation she will be discharged. From there we will wait for 6-7 weeks until she is scanned again to see the results. We are praying that this therapy will destroy the tumor completely.

Please pray for Makayla. She has been so strong through it all and we pray that she will continue to be strong and keeps bouncing back and smiling. We thank you all for your continued support.
Makayla in the (CHOP) playroom
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As all of you know, 2017 was a year of heartbreak, fear and sadness. However, the year ended with so much happiness with her being in remission and her brother being born. Makayla has been through so much this past year and its not over yet. Her month long stay in the hospital for the bone marrow transplant was not an easy time for her or the family. The separation was hard as well as seeing Makayla in so much pain. She developed sores in her mouth and down her throat which resulted in her getting a feeding tube through her nose. This caused her to vomit several times a day as well as all the mucus she developed because it hurt for her to swallow. The only positive about the feeding tube was that we were able to put her medication through it, but that also caused her pain as they pushed them through. She was in the hospital and missed her brother's first Thanksgiving. She was such a trooper though. During her bone marrow transplant she was given intense chemotherapy to wipe out her bone marrow to ensure that they were able to kill all of the cancer in her bones. She was then given back her own bone marrow and from there it was a waiting game of when her body was going to accept the bone marrow back. The hospital was so kind and got her a kitchen set, baby doll and other toys to keep her busy since she was not allowed to leave the room in fear that she be surrounded by outside germs. Anyone who entered the room had to wear a mask and gloves and everything had to be wiped down because she had no bone marrow which meant her body would not be able to fight anything. After 3.5 weeks of being in the hospital her body started to respond to her bone marrow and she slowly starting becoming herself again. When she returned home, she surprised her brother at school and they were so happy to see each other. We were all happy to have our family back together again. The morning after she got home, she smiled and said, "I'm home."

Makayla is currently going through her 12 cycles of radiation. They are radiating the primary spot by her kidney as well as her cheek and head because the tumors are still there eventhough they are MIBG negative (cancer free). They are worried there may be some possible cancer cells lingering that they cannot see. This of course comes with many side effects such as the bones will stop/or slowly grow. The radiation is causing a lot of nausea (vomiting) and headaches. She started radiation the day after Christmas and is planning to be done soon! Every radiation comes with her being put to sleep which means that she has to stop eating and drinking at a certain time. This has been a little challenging since she wakes up to drink water in the middle of the night. She also has to wake up every morning at 6 am because she is the first one of the day and it has been extremely cold. She gets ready with no complaints and waves bye as she leaves. We are counting the days till she is done.

The next step is antibodies again. She has 6 cycles that are supposed to start after radiation. This is going to require stays in the hospital again. This is the longest she has been home since her diagnoses and she is so happy. She is going to have a complete scan and bone marrow aspiration done next week to see her progress. We are praying for good news.

Her journey is still continuing and we appreciate all the continued support as we go through this. Again, no words can describe how grateful we are for all of you. Just your prayers alone mean so much to us. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers as her scans and several tests are coming up. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Christmas eve with her brothers
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Read a Previous Update
Lori Roberts Wansor
17 months ago
3
3

A family friend, 16 at the time had a very very rare form of cancer. He had chemo for two years. He is now 21, in remission and healthy. Please take this story as proof that it can and will work out. Prayers help. Treatment helps. She can beat it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

+ Read More
Jasmine Kuan
15 months ago
1
1

I am rooting for you Makayla! Jan family, i am sending you love and positive vibes into the universe. My prayers are with you.

+ Read More
Sydney Salvador
16 months ago
1
1

I couldn't even finish reading this I started crying.

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Joe Mendoza
17 months ago

Best of luck Makayla! I wish you the best.. =)

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Donna Russell Castagliola
4 days ago

Makayla keep fighting like you have been doing ...always so good and with that cute smile makes my heart melt. Although I love you and your family with all my heart ..wish we had not met under these circumstances, In my heart always Love Donna (your favorite Nurse !!!) :)

+ Read More
Elizabeth OuYang
6 months ago

Hang in there. Makayla's story has made me stronger (I am in my fifties). Her brave and continuing struggle reminds me not to bicker about small potatoes, the picture is much bigger. Makayla's family, please take good care of yourself so you can be there for Makayla. I am praying really hard for her. Makayla and her family are fighters.

+ Read More
Joe Mendoza
10 months ago

Happy Birthday Makayla!! Stay strong! =)

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Helene D'Alessandro
11 months ago

My prayers and thoughts are with you!

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Lisa Manting
12 months ago

You have a strong kid there. Thoughts and prayers to your family.

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Meryl Gellerman Ingino
12 months ago

Our prayers are with Makayla and the family !!!! Glad to hear surgery went well!! God Bless beautiful Makayla

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Ronnie Goldstein Caccio
12 months ago

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I'm sure will make a speedy recovery

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Melissa Mhuan Lai
12 months ago

To Jonanthan and Diana, I wish the best for ur little princess. For such a young age, she has to go through so much...my heart are with you. Sending u lots of luck and love ur way. Speedy recovery for little brave girl, hope she will go home soon..,will continue praying for her.

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Lisa Manting
12 months ago

Sending healing thoughts your way. Glad to hear the surgery was a success.

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Vivian Tong
13 months ago

She still has a big beautiful smile on... strong girl! Sending my love and support ♥

+ Read More
Yoonji Kim
15 months ago

Thank you for the updates on our dear Makayla!

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Joe Blosser
15 months ago

Jonathan Jan, please add me on Facebook, I would like to discuss something with you in regards to your campaign etc.

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Peggy Buetow
16 months ago

Has your doctor suggested using the new baby's cord blood as part of Makayla's treatment? I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

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Meryl Gellerman Ingino
17 months ago

Please know we are praying for a miracle for Makayla !!!!!!

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$92,523 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 1,104 people in 17 months
Created March 13, 2017
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$100
Anonymous
3 days ago
JC
$50
JoAnn Cassone
4 days ago

Prayers for Makayla's speedy recovery.

$25
Anonymous
5 days ago
$25
Anonymous
5 days ago
$100
Anonymous
5 days ago
Lori Roberts Wansor
17 months ago
3
3

A family friend, 16 at the time had a very very rare form of cancer. He had chemo for two years. He is now 21, in remission and healthy. Please take this story as proof that it can and will work out. Prayers help. Treatment helps. She can beat it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

+ Read More
Jasmine Kuan
15 months ago
1
1

I am rooting for you Makayla! Jan family, i am sending you love and positive vibes into the universe. My prayers are with you.

+ Read More
Sydney Salvador
16 months ago
1
1

I couldn't even finish reading this I started crying.

+ Read More
Joe Mendoza
17 months ago

Best of luck Makayla! I wish you the best.. =)

+ Read More
Donna Russell Castagliola
4 days ago

Makayla keep fighting like you have been doing ...always so good and with that cute smile makes my heart melt. Although I love you and your family with all my heart ..wish we had not met under these circumstances, In my heart always Love Donna (your favorite Nurse !!!) :)

+ Read More
Elizabeth OuYang
6 months ago

Hang in there. Makayla's story has made me stronger (I am in my fifties). Her brave and continuing struggle reminds me not to bicker about small potatoes, the picture is much bigger. Makayla's family, please take good care of yourself so you can be there for Makayla. I am praying really hard for her. Makayla and her family are fighters.

+ Read More
Joe Mendoza
10 months ago

Happy Birthday Makayla!! Stay strong! =)

+ Read More
Helene D'Alessandro
11 months ago

My prayers and thoughts are with you!

+ Read More
Lisa Manting
12 months ago

You have a strong kid there. Thoughts and prayers to your family.

+ Read More
Meryl Gellerman Ingino
12 months ago

Our prayers are with Makayla and the family !!!! Glad to hear surgery went well!! God Bless beautiful Makayla

+ Read More
Ronnie Goldstein Caccio
12 months ago

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I'm sure will make a speedy recovery

+ Read More
Melissa Mhuan Lai
12 months ago

To Jonanthan and Diana, I wish the best for ur little princess. For such a young age, she has to go through so much...my heart are with you. Sending u lots of luck and love ur way. Speedy recovery for little brave girl, hope she will go home soon..,will continue praying for her.

+ Read More
Lisa Manting
12 months ago

Sending healing thoughts your way. Glad to hear the surgery was a success.

+ Read More
Vivian Tong
13 months ago

She still has a big beautiful smile on... strong girl! Sending my love and support ♥

+ Read More
Yoonji Kim
15 months ago

Thank you for the updates on our dear Makayla!

+ Read More
Joe Blosser
15 months ago

Jonathan Jan, please add me on Facebook, I would like to discuss something with you in regards to your campaign etc.

+ Read More
Peggy Buetow
16 months ago

Has your doctor suggested using the new baby's cord blood as part of Makayla's treatment? I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

+ Read More
Meryl Gellerman Ingino
17 months ago

Please know we are praying for a miracle for Makayla !!!!!!

+ Read More
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