MelaStrong: Better Days ARE Ahead
Mela, age 4, was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma July 14, 2020. In the last eight months, she has completed six cycles of chemotherapy, a tumor resection, and two stem cell transplants. She still has to endure radiation and immunotherapy before likely moving on to trials in the hopes of preventing relapse, as high-risk neuroblastoma has a 50% relapse rate. In this short period, she has had more surgeries and been sedated more times than most people are in their entire lives. She has had burns to her skin from the chemo, lost some of her hearing, and is currently in the ICU fighting to recover from complications from her second transplant.
The purchase of a shirt will not only support Mela and her family - you will also be making a donation to help raise money for neuroblastoma research. The current treatments are grueling and borderline inhumane, yet, cannot be advanced due to lack of funding. The National Cancer Institute designates only 4% of their budget to pediatric cancer research which means these babies are undergoing outdated treatment that is often only researched on adults. Most children are left with life-long complications from the treatment and are at risk for secondary cancers caused by the chemo.
My goal in life is use my voice and newly found passion to bring awareness to pediatric cancer and raise funds for research. It is time to stop being angry and disgusted (or at least take a hearty break) at the current treatment regimens and be a positive part of the solution.
There ARE better days ahead 🌈🎗