In early 2016, Abi began experiencing pain and headaches that kept getting worse, no matter how much she tried to power through. Her mom, Jamie, took her back and forth to the doctor’s office and the emergency room until, in October of that year, a bone scan and a biopsy showed Abi had Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
It was extensive.
Tumors were found in Abi’s pelvis, femur, shoulders and skull. A tumor on her lumbar spine had fractured a vertebra, rendering her unable to walk. There was also cancer in her bone marrow.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital takes on many of the toughest cases — which means taking care of kids like Abi.
When Abi arrived at St. Jude, Jamie asked their doctor, “Do you really think we’ll have any success, as bad as it’s got her?” But with chemotherapy, Abi’s tumors started shrinking dramatically almost right away. She also received proton therapy and was quickly walking again, smiling again, laughing again.
Abi with country music artist Kelsea Ballerini during her visit to St. Jude.
For Jamie, it was like getting her youngest daughter back.
Jamie said, “For us, it’s a blessing, it’s a privilege, it’s an honor to be treated at such an amazing hospital. You get truly world-class care.”
And this world-class care comes at no out-of-pocket cost to Abi's family, because families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
By summer 2017, Abi, still bald from chemotherapy, was jumping off rocks into a lake on family vacation.
In the beginning of this journey, Jamie had explained cancer to Abi like this: "It’s when certain cells in your body decide to start growing wrong, and they crowd out the good cells, and they try to take over."
Abi replied, “So cancer cells are like bullies.”
The fact is, not every bully backs down the first time you stand up to it.
In October 2017, a year after diagnosis, Abi started having headaches again. Scans at St. Jude showed her cancer was back. Not yet 10 years old, Abi has had more than 150 doses of chemotherapy in her life. And she’s not done yet. She still has to stand up to cancer.
Abi is tough, but so is what she’s up against. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. Unfortunately, survival rates for Ewing sarcoma lag behind. But St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
As tough as this is, Abi defied the odds from the get-go. This hospital does not give up on you. St. Jude is going to be the reason why we succeed in finding better cures.
Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.
When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Abi's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.