Sari’s Story

On August 7, 2017, 16-year-old Sari came home from a wonderful summer in Israel and headed straight to cheer camp with her Bexley High School varsity cheerleading squad the next day. Three days later she returned home with cold-like symptoms. Her family assumed it was simply exhaustion after the busy few weeks she had.

After several days of rest, Sari was feeling a bit better, but still got dizzy every time she stood up. That Monday morning, instead of heading to cheerleading practice with the rest of her friends, she had an appointment with her pediatrician. Having had no significant prior health issues, her doctor thought she was likely experiencing dehydration or anemia, ordered some blood counts to verify, and sent her home with orders to drink water and eat some salty foods.

Later that night, Sari’s concerned doctor called with the results of her blood test – her hemoglobin and platelets were abnormally low. She sent Sari and her family to Nationwide Children’s Hospital right away. Sari’s blood test results were confirmed, and they were told there were three possibilities – a virus in her blood, an infection, or a malignancy (cancer). Late that night, Sari received her diagnosis – she had leukemia.

Sari was immediately admitted and received a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap the next day that confirmed Sari had type B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She and her family were devastated to learn that she would need to undergo intensive chemotherapy for nine months, miss her entire junior year of high school, lose her hair and endure the side effects of her treatment.

“Sari has been so strong. Her grief over the diagnosis and what it meant was intense but short – and quickly turned to determination. Nationwide Children’s made a devastating diagnosis for our family much more bearable. The nurses, doctors, and the rest of the hospital staff have been completely amazing and helped make the process of fighting this horrible disease so much easier,” says Sari’s mom, Jenni.

The Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) teams treat patients with the rarest cancers and blood disorders, and these specialists are sought after to collaborate and participate in treatments across the country and around the world. The Nationwide Children’s department of Oncology is ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report.

Surrounded by many people who love and care about her, Sari has been held up with the support of her cheerleading squad, the Columbus cheerleading community, her school, synagogue, camp, youth group and all of her family and friends.

“Being a Nationwide Children’s Patient Champion means a lot to me because I want my story to help other children in my situation. I hope that by being a Patient Champion, sharing my experience will reach many people and will help other children and their families know the help they will have through their cancer journeys. I also hope that anyone who is moved by my story will want to learn more about leukemia and support the research and treatments that can help cure this disease,” Sari says.

https://flutter.nationwidechildrens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Sari-.jpg
  • Name: Sari .Sari
  • Condition(s): Cancer, Leukemia
  • Age at Treatment: 16

On August 7, 2017, 16-year-old Sari came home from a wonderful summer in Israel and headed straight to cheer camp with her Bexley High School varsity cheerleading squad the next day. Three days later she returned home with cold-like symptoms. Her family assumed it was simply exhaustion after the busy few weeks she had.

After several days of rest, Sari was feeling a bit better, but still got dizzy every time she stood up. That Monday morning, instead of heading to cheerleading practice with the rest of her friends, she had an appointment with her pediatrician. Having had no significant prior health issues, her doctor thought she was likely experiencing dehydration or anemia, ordered some blood counts to verify, and sent her home with orders to drink water and eat some salty foods.

Later that night, Sari’s concerned doctor called with the results of her blood test – her hemoglobin and platelets were abnormally low. She sent Sari and her family to Nationwide Children’s Hospital right away. Sari’s blood test results were confirmed, and they were told there were three possibilities – a virus in her blood, an infection, or a malignancy (cancer). Late that night, Sari received her diagnosis – she had leukemia.

Sari was immediately admitted and received a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap the next day that confirmed Sari had type B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She and her family were devastated to learn that she would need to undergo intensive chemotherapy for nine months, miss her entire junior year of high school, lose her hair and endure the side effects of her treatment.

“Sari has been so strong. Her grief over the diagnosis and what it meant was intense but short – and quickly turned to determination. Nationwide Children’s made a devastating diagnosis for our family much more bearable. The nurses, doctors, and the rest of the hospital staff have been completely amazing and helped make the process of fighting this horrible disease so much easier,” says Sari’s mom, Jenni.

The Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) teams treat patients with the rarest cancers and blood disorders, and these specialists are sought after to collaborate and participate in treatments across the country and around the world. The Nationwide Children’s department of Oncology is ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report.

Surrounded by many people who love and care about her, Sari has been held up with the support of her cheerleading squad, the Columbus cheerleading community, her school, synagogue, camp, youth group and all of her family and friends.

“Being a Nationwide Children’s Patient Champion means a lot to me because I want my story to help other children in my situation. I hope that by being a Patient Champion, sharing my experience will reach many people and will help other children and their families know the help they will have through their cancer journeys. I also hope that anyone who is moved by my story will want to learn more about leukemia and support the research and treatments that can help cure this disease,” Sari says.

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