Here is the other Letters for RJ featured child for Oklahoma: Mia McDowell. This gorgeous little girl was diagnosed with neuroblastoma back in August 2011 when she was sixteen months old (the same age I was when I was diagnosed – HOPE!). She just turned two on April 12th, and her world should only involve dancing with her daddy, taking care of her baby brother, cuddling with the people who love her, “reading” her books or having them read to her, and having tea parties with her dolls. Since August, though, her life has been filled with doctor appointments, hospital stays, and chemotherapy. In December, she had her tumor resection surgery, and chemo and stem cell transplant were finished in last month. She received her last radiation treatment last week. As of her last scans in January, she’s cancer free! However, she does have 6 more months of antibody treatment. She’s very excited that her hair is finally growing back (her last chemo was in February).
Mia has stage IV high risk neuroblastoma. When she was diagnosed, it had already spread to her bone marrow and to areas in her shoulders and spine, and she had quite a few lesions on her little legs. She has a good support system on Facebook (click on her name above), and her family and friends have geared up to fight this disease with her. I’m sure she has her guardian angel’s arms wrapped around her too, as does every single child warrior.
What exactly is neuroblastoma? I know I have talked about it before countless times, but I haven’t really explained what it is. It has been classified as the most common extracranial solid tumor in children, and about 50% of patients are younger than 2 years of age when they are diagnosed. Wikipedia says, “ It is a neuroendocrine tumor, arising from any neural crest element of the sympathetic nervous system or SNS. It most frequently originates in one of the adrenal glands, but can also develop in nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis.” Mia’s main tumor was in her belly.
Again, I hope you will join me in praying for this gorgeous little girl and in writing the governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin. The stories of children such as Mia and John will make it more personal for them. Also, if you can, please include pictures. Remember, our goal is to get more awareness out there about pediatric cancer and ultimately more funding (as is, the government only gives less than 3% of $3 billion to pediatric cancer research. 46 children are diagnosed every single day, and 7 more die every single day. It is unacceptable).