Allie is a happy, playful girl with a creative imagination. She has tea parties with her dolls and builds extravagant Lego® creations with her little brother, Richie. It’s no surprise that when faced with a life-threatening illness, Allie did so with a smile.
In April 2014, Allie, who is now 7, fell off the monkey bars while playing with friends. Soon after, her back started to hurt off and on. Allie’s parents, Rich and Kelli, assumed the pain was due to the fall. But when the pain continued, tests showed Allie suffered from a type of bone cancer called Ewing sarcoma. Allie underwent surgery to remove the tumor at a hospital in Oregon.
Knowing that the cancer had also spread to Allie’s lungs, her parents opted to bring her to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital rather than pursue standard treatment at home. “From my research about St. Jude and everything they’re doing for children, it was a no-brainer,” said Rich. “We quickly realized we’d made the right choice.”
Allie’s treatment at St. Jude included chemotherapy and surgery to remove the remaining tumor. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. “Allie is very upbeat, positive and tough,” Kelli said. “She’s the strongest little girl.”
While Allie was undergoing treatment, Richie helped keep her spirits up. The siblings could often be found playing in hospital waiting rooms or, when Allie was inpatient, curled up in bed together watching movies and playing video games.
Allie was recently able to return home, where she continues to take oral chemotherapy. She’s in second grade and likes art and math. But what she likes most about being home is playing with the family’s animals — a horse, two dogs, a guinea hen and a goat named Cutie Pie. Allie’s hoping to soon add a kitten to the menagerie that she can name Rosie.
“We’re grateful for St. Jude,” said Kelli. “Allie’s dad and I are amazed at how strong she’s been through everything.” Allie returns to St. Jude every three months for checkups.