St. Jude patient Harper, liver cancer

Competing against cancer

When Harper and her family discovered she had cancer, they approached her treatment like they approach sports — with the determination that she could beat it.

 

Harper is sweet, funny and athletic. She’s a social butterfly who loves hanging out with her brothers and her friends.

 But in April 2017, she was diagnosed with undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma — a type of liver cancer.

When her family learned she had cancer, they embraced Harper’s journey like they embrace a race.

Patient Harper
 

Harper is resilient; she has the best attitude. When we learned she had cancer, I told her it's just like a race. There are miles that are going to be bad, and there are miles that are going to be good — but there's always going to be a finish line. We're going to finish this. We're going to win.

Lauren, St. Jude patient Harper's mom

 

At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Harper underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.

Harper has always been athletic. Prior to her diagnosis, she played softball and basketball, and she swam competitively. Freestyle and butterfly were her strongest strokes. In addition, Harper is a nationally ranked shot putter who placed sixth during the 2016 Summer Junior Olympics.

Patient Harper

Harper finished treatment in October 2017 and now visits St. Jude for regular checkups. She’s in sixth grade and is back to playing basketball and swimming competitively. She’ll start throwing shot put later this fall.

“I cannot image our world without St. Jude in it,” Lauren said. “We’re forever grateful for everything they’ve done for us. When we come for appointments, Harper says it feels like home. And it does, it’s a part of our home now.”

 

Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.

When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Harper'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.

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