My Family Needs Your Help
Never did this before but the life of my granddaughter hangs in the balance. Certain events humble you. This is one of them.
Cassandra, my three-year old grand baby was diagnosed with liver cancer four months ago. She has received 5 rounds of chemotherapy and withstood every medical intervention and insult with an elvish smile and silent giggle. The silent part is due to the ventilator and trach she has endured most of her short life. As a preemie, she was handed a rough handdefective heart (corrected), damaged lungs (healing) and now this: cancer.
But as Dickinson wrote: Hope is the Thing with Feathers.
Though initially turned down for a liver transplant at Philadelphias Childrens Hospital (CHOP), Cassandra is scheduled to be evaluated by Pittsburghs pediatric team of surgeons and oncologists. They believe they can get this done.
Weve gone from grim days to hopium days.
The problem is financing the outside medical costs. Insurance covers a goodly portion but most people know, whats not covered can break a familys backmedical transport, food, lodging, etc.
So, Im asking for any assistance the DU community might be able to offer. A friend of my son and daughter-in-law has started a GOFUNDME page. Youll see a pic of Cassandra there. Weve nicknamed her the Warrior Princess. Its a name the child has earned a hundred times over.
Anything donated will be deeply appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
Peggysue, aka Nan to this sweet but remarkably fierce baby
your Granddaughter's brave struggle is so eloquently written.. I wish her and your family the very Best Healing & Recovery for the little one.
This child deserves eloquence. Her struggles have been mighty but her deposition is extraordinary. If anyone had the right to wave tiny, angry fists at the Universe, it would be Cassandra. Instead, she smiles and dances to her favorite songs. She loves, loves music, even in the hospital. The nurses come in for periodic dance parties with Cassandra in the lead, of course. Anything with half a beat gets her up on her feet. Which is probably a good thing.
Thanks for the good wishes and blessings!
a real chance after all she has been through.
I agree, btw. Our fierce baby girl deserves a chance; she's certainly worked for it, over and over. Cassandra has surprised family and friends, even the medical teams that have worked on her behalf--she refuses to give it up.
She's my new pint-sized hero.
they may be able to help you:
My daughter-in-law heard about The Family House from someone associated with Pittsburgh Children's. Her worry is how long of a stay she might need once Cassandra's accepted (and yes, she's firm that acceptance is a happening thing ). Certainly beats the scattered chances of the McDonald House which we understand is first come first serve and btw, we're always full.
The logistics of these things can drive you nuts. But we'll get it done, one way or the other.
Thanks for the support!
Trust me, my son and his wife will be ever grateful. As am I.
And yes, I'll keep the community updated.
It makes me so angry that health care in this country is as it is. So many are in the shoes of your family.
Sending positive energy your way. I hope your granddaughter gets through this with flying colors.
Every bit helps. And yes, the healthcare system in the country is appalling and can be overwhelming, financially and emotionally, particularly when you're looking at catastrophic medical care.
Btw, the positive energy is valuable, too.
My son and his wife have been living a 'rob Peter to pay Paul existence' since Cassandra's birth. Most of us have been there but when the bills are never-ending whoppers, it begins to take a toll. This is the first time my son and daughter-in-law have reached out beyond the family. After three years, the prospect of ever-more medical expenses is keeping my son wide awake at night. He keeps saying he's going to have a heart attack from stress alone. I try to brush those comments off but still I worry; he will always be my baby boy.
So, long-winded way of saying: every dollar helps and is truly appreciated.
After everyone's generosity and kindness, it's the least I can do. This community has a big heart. Love you guys!
Though Cassandra doesn't go for gentle hugs. It's big bear hugs and sloppy kisses. She's that kind of warrior.
CHOPs is a damn fine pediatric medical institution. Which was why it was so disappointing to have Cassandra turned down, a gut punch. Oddly enough, my son insisted on a chat with the head surgeon; he wanted to know the specific why of the matter.
Shortly after the outreach from Pittsburgh and Boston, my son and the surgeon did have that conversation. And surprisingly, the surgeon walked back the initial assessment. The difference? He met Cassandra in the flesh and was astonished at her energy, her vitality after 5 rounds of chemo. She was bee-bopping down the corridor with her shopping cart and headphones (nurse in attendance, of course). Then the surgeon reexamined the child's file--her blood work, tumor markers and scads of imaging after which he decided he'd made the wrong call. He admitted this to my son for which I think he deserves a good measure of credit. By then, the plans were in motion.
So, Pittsburgh it is. Who knows? Maybe it was fated to be Pittsburgh all along.
Thanks for the support and good wishes!
Btw, one thing this journey has done is refresh my memory about how critical it is for any patient, child or not, to have strong medical advocates pushing for the best care and asking the hard questions. My son and daughter-in-law get an A+ in that department.
I misread the initial post, thinking you were going to CHOP.
I hope I did not come across as being callous.
It's what the family has been hoping for from the start. Thanks so much for the support and kind wishes.
Thanks so much.
Btw, I spoke to my son earlier this evening and he was astonished by the donations. In a happy, relieved sort of way.
wishing little Cassandra all the love and best wishes I can give.
Good luck to her entire family!
I know I wrote you a thank you but I obviously forgot to hit the 'post' button. My brain before my first cup of coffee, perhaps.
In any case, thank you for the support. Much appreciated!
Just donated a wee bit. May Cassandra soon dance in excellent health
Got a report tonight. Cassandra was cruising the corridors again with her shopping cart and Taylor Swift on her recorder.
Thank you for the kind words and support.
Two now teenage girls from DILs previous marriages, a 3 year old girl and triplets( 2 boys and a girl)born almost a year ago. I would give them my last breath if they needed it. I cant bear to think of any of them going through what Cassandra is going through. Please keep us updated when you can, we are all sending so much love to your family!
I, too, have two grandchildren (sons) from my daughter-in-law's first marriage. Cassandra, however, is the first child between my son and his wife. Don't tell the boys but . . . this baby girl holds a special place in my heart.
Waited long enough for this baby girl. No way am I letting go.
Thanks for the support, halobeam!
How do the rest of you judge the legitimacy of such appeals?
Think I joined DU during the 2016 primary (big Hillary fan here). I'd need to check the record. However, I've often shared your concern about legitimacy on some appeals. Think you just have to follow your gut and heart in these matters.
Appreciate the support!
Fierce! I doubt most adults could/would handle what she's been through with such aplomb. Maybe there's a stubborn gene I passed along to my son, and then to Cassandra.
I knew that gene would come in handy!
I'm sure Cassandra will sail through with gusto, what a sweetie pie
Kick-ass gene! I like that even better.
Thanks for the note. Made me laugh, always a good thing.
I just chipped in some. I really wish I could have donated all the way to your goal. Best wishes to you and your family and sending healing vibes to your precious girl.
The doctors in Pittsburgh are extraordinary and sometimes they're even miracle workers.
Your DU family cares and wants to help. Thank you PeggySue2 and may God bless!
Message like this always makes me tear up.
In fact my son said last night: I can't believe all these people giving donations, most of whom I don't know, who wouldn't know me from Adam.
My reply was that DU has a very big heart and extended that heart to me, to you, but more importantly to our baby girl.
Can't tell you how grateful we are. Hopefully, my personal thank you notes are an expression of that.
And yes, Pittsburgh has sterling credentials. We're counting on Cassandra's quick acceptance (with bated breath, of course). However, the initial feedback on her scans, tumor markers and blood work has been encouraging.