With the start of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, it was fitting that Tyler and I spent the afternoon with the most amazing little girl, Julia. Tyler and I were so touched by Julia’s joy and happiness. She was the most enthusiastic model & great trouper for our shoot last week.
Julia was diagnosed with a Stage 3 Wilm’s Tumor, a type of childhood kidney cancer, right after her fifth birthday in 2010. After the removal of her right kidney, radiation treatments and undergoing 6 months of chemotherapy, the prognosis was good with a 95% cure rate.
Julia has had four reoccurrences of her cancer – first with a tumor in her mediastinum and then with tumors in her lungs. Julia has endured more chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries. Her last relapse was in May with a mass in her right lung. There are no remaining protocols to follow and her doctors are at a loss for what to do next. Julia is currently taking a drug that will hopefully slow the growth of the tumor until a new treatment can be found.
Julia has a wonderful spirit that touches everyone she meets. Throughout Julia’s treatment, she has been amazingly optimistic and wise beyond her years– never forgetting to smile and be kind to others. For her 7th birthday, in the midst of her first relapse, Julia requested that all her gifts be given to other children that were being treated for cancer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and any money she received was donated to the hospital for cancer research. This past year, a school fundraiser was held for Julia, but she insisted that all the money be donated to CHOP for Cancer research.
In the last 3-1/2 years, Julia’s family has realized that 95% is just not good enough. No child should ever have to suffer with this horrible disease and more importantly, we cannot stop looking for a cure.
Julia’s mother, Janet, has chronicled Julia’s battle against cancer, but more importantly, she has told Julia’s story, one of an amazing spirit and true grace. Take the time to read Julia’s story on her CarePage at http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JuliaGrace and spread the word that 95% is not good enough. Julia, we are so lucky to have met you, you will be in our thoughts and prayers for blessings and healing!