Our world changed on October 2, 2015, that was actually my Birthday and my oldest sons Birthday was the next day. What was supposed to be a weekend full of fun and laughter turned into a weekend full of tears and heartbreak. About 6 days prior we noticed Aaliyah developing a bruise under her right eye. At first, Joey and I thought nothing of it until it progressed and then bruising on her left eye started to appear. Our poor baby looked as if she had been in a MMA fight but we knew she hadn't fallen or hit herself in the eyes with anything so we took her to our family pediatrician. We made the appointment, went in and our doctor examined her from head to toe and couldn't give us a diagnosis. We all agreed something wasn't right because of her severe bruising around her eyes, so we decided to take blood to see if we could get some answers. The very next day we were called and told to head to the ER at Scottish Rite and the hemoc doctors would be waiting to speak to us. We hopped in the car and headed to the hospital not even for a moment thinking that our child had Cancer, but who does? We arrived and they did some scans and they informed us that they found several spots in her little body and that she had Neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. Our hearts dropped and it took a moment to sink in but once it did we just wanted to know how bad it was and what we needed to do to help our angel beat this.
After further testing we found out she was stage 4 nmyc amplified (high risk) and that her journey was going to be long with many obstacles. As parents we couldn't imagine that our 10 month old had cancer and how hard this road was going to be for her, how we would explain this to our other children, or how this would impact our family. After the news we made several calls to family & close friends and they gave us great words of encouragement and told us how they would have us in continuous prayer. I truly believe the prayers are what have kept us going through all of this and what will get our daughter through this battle. It's been 10 months since we heard the terrible news and Aaliyah has done incredible! Yes, we have had a few hiccups but we stayed grateful and prayerful because we always knew things could be worse. Aaliyah so far has had 6 rounds of chemo, 2 stem cell transplants & 12 rounds of radiation. After radiation she will have 6 months of antibody therapy which will complete her treatment plan. The end of treatment seemed so far away in the beginning but now it seems so close and far more obtainable. Our faith has grown so much throughout this process and we have met some truly amazing families and people. Bonds have been made that will last a lifetime and I never thought for one moment this would happen. Our family has developed a bond like no other and we all appreciate so many things far more than we use to. Every night we pray for all of the children battling or who have lost their battle to childhood cancer and that will never change.
Unfortunately Aaliyah's battle turned toward the worst and passed away on Thanksgiving morning 2016.