"She's always been a happy kid," says her mother, Stephanie.
"She's bubbly. She's intelligent. She's cute. She's everything," adds her father, Mark.
Aspen was only a year and ten months when she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.
She underwent lengthy treatment in the Philippines, using a protocol developed and shared by St. Jude doctors and researchers. But six months later, the cancer was spreading again.
Now, with a referral to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, her family travelled to the United States for the first time.
When they told us that everything will be free, it was like a thorn was taken away. At first it’s unbelievable. We didn’t expect anything like this. We were so grateful.
Families, like Aspen's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
Even undergoing cancer treatment at St. Jude, Aspen remained bubbly and happy and playful. But her parents found that they were changed.
"It changed my perspective about life. There’s so much kindness in the world. It’s inspiring in a way that it challenges us, the recipients of this kindness, to give back," says Aspen's mother.
Now the focus is on living each day to the fullest, with a sense of gratitude.
St. Jude saved us. It saved the family. St. Jude is a gift.
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