It’s now been three and a half weeks since we received the fantastic news that Megan’s CT and PET scans showed no signs of cancer. Previous to these scans, her doctors had been monitoring a mass in her chest that had started to work it’s way around her aorta. The mass finally reached a point where the oncologists had to take action. Since this was Megan’s third relapse, her limited chemotherapy options had been exhausted, which meant that proton radiation was her only research-based option remaining. After three weeks of receiving proton radiation treatments five days per week, her scans thankfully showed that the treatment worked. Although the CT showed that the mass in her chest was still present, it had shrunk considerably, and most importantly, the PET scan showed the mass had no cancerous activity. It was the best possible news we could have hoped for!!! Megan’s doctors told her that she didn’t have to come back for another check-up for two months, so ever since, Megan has been focusing on her personal physical and mental health. However, although she is taking time to concentrate on herself, her advocacy work for childhood cancer is still going as strong as ever. She is determined to help find a cure for this awful disease so no more kids have to experience the horror that has plagued her for the past four years.
Megan continues to actively raise money to support the important research being conducted by Dr. Walterhouse at Luries Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Due to a lack of funding from the Federal government, and the nearly complete lack of interest in childhood cancer by the big pharmaceutical companies, research for childhood cancer is largely funded through private efforts. There are many childhood cancer patients and their families who are actually forced to raise funds themselves to sponsor the research that could save their lives. As I’ve expressed many times before, in a country as wealthy and advanced as ours, this just seems so wrong. However, instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Megan and her fellow childhood cancer warriors have decided to take action. Thanks to the generosity of so many people and organizations, Megan has now raised nearly $165,000 for childhood cancer research. Her goal is to hit $200,000 in total, so if anyone is interested in making a tax-deductible donation, you can do so through Megan’s personal fundraising page through Luries Children’s Hospital “Circle of Friends”.
Speaking of the generous people and organizations who continue to support Megan’s cause…Coal City High School still stands out as one of her most ardent supporters. Due to Megan’s illness, she missed the majority of her high school career. However, Principal Mitch Hamann and the CCHS students and staff continue to provide her with tremendous support. Recently, the school held a raffle and Dance Marathon to raise money for Megan’s childhood cancer fundraiser. Last week, two representatives from the school presented Megan with a check for $2,719 for Dr. Walterhouse’s research. Megan was so thankful and excited to receive such a generous donation for childhood cancer.
On Saturday, Megan, Deb and I took a road trip to Madison, WI to visit Kenzi. Because our Spring Break’s were different this year, Kenzi wasn’t able to accompany us on our recent vacation to Los Angeles. Since we missed her on our trip, we were anxious to go see her on Saturday. Kenzi spent Saturday morning volunteering for the Communicative Sciences and Disorders department at a children’s science fair. She finished at 12:30 p.m., so we picked her up from there and all went to one of her favorite Italian restaurants. After that, she took Megan to a clothing store where her roommate works to shop for her high school graduation dress, and then we took Kenzi to Target to get some staples for her apartment. Although it is six hours of driving to get there and back, it was well worth it to see her and have our entire family together for a few hours. Kenzi continues to thrive at UW and we are so proud of everything she continues to accomplish.
As Megan continues to take back her life from cancer, she has slowly been gaining more and more energy. She has been working at Broadway Dance Studio for over a year now, and she absolutely loves it. She works there two days per week, and recently decided that she wanted to find another job. She took it upon herself to go visit a new clothing boutique in Coal City, and when she got home, she told us that she had landed a new job. She has now started working at the “Hustle & Hunee Boutique” on Tuesdays and Fridays. She was so excited because fashion is a passion of hers, so she is thrilled with her new position. She has already had her first day of training, and she came back so excited!!! This is just one more step in her efforts to regain the life that childhood cancer tried so hard to take from her.
It’s been another great week as Megan and our family continue to try and push cancer to the back of our minds. I fully realize that as a cancer survivor, Megan will be dealing with the impact of cancer for the rest of her life. However, it’s important that none of us let cancer be the determining factor in our attitude and outlook on life. As Megan continues the healing process, we will continue to follow her lead and maintain our staunch belief that cancer cannot beat her. In this battle, attitude is everything, and Megan’s positive attitude and belief in herself has never waned. Cancer is losing more and more ground by the day, and it’s only a matter of time until Megan defeats the beast for good. Until next week…