Emma on her trike

5 years old
Diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic lymphoma

Emma's parents never imagined that the Trike-A-Thon would end up having such a personal meaning to them. One summer, Emma was participating in the program, which was hosted by the preschool where her mom worked. The next summer, she was admitted to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In May 2010, a delightful day at the zoo had turned somber for 3-year-old Emma and her family. On their way home from the zoo, Emma started to have trouble breathing and passed out. Panicked, her dad called 911 and her mom administered CPR while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

At the hospital, doctors put in a breathing tube and sent Emma and her family to a larger hospital. There, CT scans revealed masses in her abdomen and throat. Emma was immediately flown to St. Jude.

At St. Jude, doctors determined that Emma suffered from acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. She immediately started chemotherapy on a two-and-a-half year protocol. Emma visits a St. Jude affiliate near her home for weekly intravenous chemotherapy and takes oral chemotherapy daily. She also visits St. Jude for continuing checkups.

This past June, a year after her diagnosis, Emma felt well enough to participate in her preschool’s Trike-A-Thon event. She raised $322 for the hospital that is helping to save her life. Emma’s mom, Katie, encourages people of all ages, from preschool and beyond, to support St. Jude. “When you give to St. Jude, you help show others the importance of giving,” said Katie. “You are helping to save lives.”

Emma is a sweet-natured girl who loves cats and horses and playing with her little sister.