What a fun time to be a first grader! Little Caroline had a new puppy and it was Halloween Trick-or-Treat night. Like many kids her age, Caroline had a tummy ache later that evening. But for her, this was not something that would gently go away while she slept. Instead, this would get worse.
Caroline developed a fever, was feeling worse, and a discolored mass appeared near her right rib cage. Her parents rushed her to the Emergency Room at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Just a few hours later, they learned that a large tumor had consumed Caroline’s right kidney.
Caroline was admitted to the Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit where Dr. Mark Ranalli explained the diagnosis and treatment. It would last nine months and would begin with the tumor removal. This meant Caroline would lose her kidney. Dr. Ranalli assured the family that everything possible would be done to cure Caroline.
After surgery, Caroline began chemotherapy. When she lost her hair from the treatment, she didn’t mind. In fact, she was proud of her “fierce look.”
And she would need that fierce look to stare down more bad news. In December, Caroline learned that her cancer was Stage Four and had spread into her left lung.
“When the sudden prospect of losing your child is real, everyone has to be able to turn to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for the rescue, care, healing and knowledge to get through. Knowing that Nationwide Children’s has the top caregivers in the world to offer is itself an irreplaceable thing,” says Caroline’s mom, Janet.
During winter, Caroline attended school whenever possible, and kept up with her class in spite of nausea, fatigue, joint pain and more. In the spring, her scans revealed no evidence of the tumor which had been in her lung. This summer, she will complete chemotherapy.
Today Caroline enjoys art, horses and playing with her puppy and best friends. Through it all, she has remained strong, independent and cheerful.