Tag Archives: chemotherapy

Help Rianna Beat Cancer

Rianna is this towering 16-year-old package of talent and determination. Like her mom and some of her other family members, she is a passionate musician with a naturally melodic singing voice and able hands on the piano and guitar. She is an artist with a flair for drawing. Until recently, she had been a strong athlete and a fierce competitor in gymnastics.

Rianna is the eldest child and only daughter of a very dear friend of mine whom I’ve known for the last 29 years (note: we’ve been friends since we were very young; i.e. we’d like to think that we’re not that old!).  She is my goddaughter, and is perhaps the oldest friend and surely one of the closest friends of my daughter. (I have photos of them together as toddlers, but I won’t post them here so they will still talk to me.)

After going through six cycles of chemotherapy and radiation therapy last year, she is still battling Hodgkin Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph tissue). She needs high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant to give her the best possible chance of beating cancer.  These treatments, however, are very expensive. Her mom has set up a GoFundMe.com page to help raise funds.

GoFundMe Rianna

I’m appealing to anyone who would like to help Rianna beat cancer by donating to her medical fund. Please help us give her the best chance of overcoming this hurdle to her dreams of college, of music and art, of helping others through her gifts.




Inspire Monday: Hodgegirl and Cancer Teen Mom

mother and daughter?These two ladies are close to my heart, close to my family, and in the last month have shown me how strong they can be in the face of surprising and daunting obstacles.

Less than a month ago, a huge bomb was dropped. It was discovered that Hodgegirl (my 15-year-old goddaughter) has Hodgkin Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph tissue. It was a shock to us all. How can this happen to this young girl, bright and healthy, athletic and busy, soon getting ready to take on college life?

Hodgegirl has been, in Cancer Teen Mom’s words, such a trooper. She’s been so positive and so brave, through the diagnosis, through the chemotherapy, through this whole “thing.” I’ve been with her a few times since we all learned the diagnosis, and even when she was dizzy and weak from low blood count, I’ve never seen her act difficult or hopeless. And she still worries about how her cancer is affecting her family.  Having cancer at the age of fifteen is only magnifying Hodgegirl’s strength and kindness.

Cancer Teen Mom is doing what any loving and dedicated mother would do. She is providing her daughter with all the care she needs during this very difficult time. But what inspires me is her determination to keep it all together for her daughter, for herself and for her family. Like any typical mother in a similar situation, she also has her down moments. But afterwards, she would let it go, pick herself up and go back to being her busy, perky self. I think it’s also uplifting that Cancer Teen Mom has started sharing her story through her new blog, The Hodgegirl Chronicles. Though it may serve the selfish need for catharsis, it serves the bigger purpose of giving another voice, unique and common, to those all over the world who are dealing with Hodgkin Lymphoma.

It’s no wonder that Cancer Teen Mom has a strong and brave daughter in Hodgegirl 🙂 I am blessed to know them both, and to be literally closer to them during this time.

(Note: Photo above is not Cancer Teen Mom and Hodgegirl. It’s a royalty-free stock photo.)


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To Be Young and To Have Chemotherapy

Day 96: Free Falling - ExploredFour days ago, I learned that my fifteen-year-old goddaughter has cancer. She is the daughter of one of my dearest friends, and she is one of my daughter’s best friends. Her mother and I have been friends for the last 28 years (and counting). Only one year apart in age, my daughter and my goddaughter have known each other since they were babies. Safe to say that our lives intertwine in many ways.

Four days ago, our lives took a sudden change and we are reeling from it.

My daughter and I were with the family when the oncologist first discussed the type of cancer, course of treatment, what to expect, etc. Hodgkin lymphoma, common among adolescents, very much treatable, chemotherapy and radiation. So many words, so many new realities that, from then on, would linger in my mind.  Thankfully, the oncologist was very positive, encouraging everyone be positive and to take things one step, one day at a time.

Today, my goddaughter will have her first chemotherapy treatment. Although I am hopeful that her youth and her athletic background will help her cope well, I still worry that she will become so weak, so fragile, so unlike the strong and lively girl we know. And seeing her that way will break our hearts.

When the oncologist was talking about chemotherapy, one of the first things my goddaughter said was, “Will I lose my hair?” The doctor did say yes, but she quickly assured her that after all the treatment, her hair will grow back, and maybe even nicer than before. It suddenly hit me. Losing your hair, like losing your strength and your appetite, can be very traumatic. Suddenly, you look different, you feel different, your life becomes vastly different.

This passage was part of today’s Gospel reading:

“Even all the hairs on your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10: 30-31)

My goddaughter is definitely worth more than many sparrows. And I have faith that all the hairs on her head are counted, as each one falls off and as each one grows back, stronger and lovelier than before.


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