On June 1, 2010 our two year old, "Little Air Bear," was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Type M7. After enduring 146 days at Primary Children's Hospital, Erin is now in remission and living a full life at home with our family. Her strong will and constant happy smile is an inspiration to us all. Through our difficult circumstances we found great strength and peace in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for checking in on us.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Make a Wish Day ONE

A few months ago Erin visited the Make-A-Wish Wishing House
and made her special wish

To Meet Disney Princesses.

Her wish finally came true this last week.

Day 1

The kids could hardly stand the wait to get on the airplane.  When we landed in Orlando, Florida our 4 year old son yelled out in the airplane, "we're going to Disneyworld!" 

We were greeted by a Give Kids the World employee and she showed us to our rental car.  The car rental people were all smiles and told us to be sure to bring our car back with an empty tank of gas.  Erin picked out our car for the vacation...she first asked for a red car, but they didn't have any red ones so we settled on a charcoal colored minivan.

We arrived at the Give Kids the World Village and were greeted by this cute sign.


The Village is the MOST amazing place, it covers 70 acres and is magical at every turn.  It was founded by Henri Landworth, who spent 5 of his childhood years in concentration camps wondering from day to day if he was going to live or die.  I am so grateful for his sacrifice in creating a place for our family to feel burden-free.  The entire village is FREE for wish families...meaning that we never needed money for anything.  It is staffed by 1500 VOLUNTEERS each week.

We registered and got oriented at the House of Hearts.


Then we were escorted to our villa
in the Fairytale Forrest.


Across from our villa was
a life-size candyland playground!


 Of course, we hit the playground first.



It's looked like we were living in a fairytale.


We made our way to the Ice Cream Parlor
We could have ice cream any way we wanted it all day long!
(I had an Oreo milkshake...ahem...everyday)


Erin had a lot of chocolate ice cream cones
throughout the entire trip.


Erin received a special invitation to visit the Star Fairy
and wake the sleeping owl at the Castle of Miracles.


She decorated her star.



The magical star fairy placed it on the ceiling of the Castle of Miracles.


There are over 100,000 stars on the ceiling in the Castle of Miracles.
It brought tears to my eyes to realize that each star came from a child just like Erin.  Some have made it and some have passed on.


Next she woke up the sleeping owl who lived in this tree.
The kids got to make special wishes
and then three little pillows magically appeared
just for them.


Visiting the Castle of Miracles was a beautiful way to end the first day on our magical vacation.


John put the kids to bed while I made a quick trip to WalMart to pick up snacks and supplies to keep us going while we visited the parks on upcoming days.  As I drove back to our villa I just couldn't help but cry a little as I thought about how amazing and wonderful we were being treated.  Every time we turned around we were treated like royalty.  The whole village has a special spirit about it.  Everyone smiles and there is a very distinct feeling of service and love there.  It is a special place and it will forever be a place of some of my most favorite memories together as a family.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

6 Month Clinic...still in remission

We've been done with cancer for 6 months now.  Wahoo!  Erin is still cancer free!  The most critical time of relapse is in the first year off of treatment so we are halfway there.  Erin was even cleared to only come in for visits with her Oncologists once every 2 months instead of once a month.  What a relief!

Tomorrow Erin will get some of her 2 year old shots that we had to skip because of her cancer.  She will be allowed to get her live vaccinations (like chickenpox and MMR) in December.

Erin psyched herself up for her "poke" in the hand to draw some blood.


Everything was pretty uneventful, 
which is a good thing.



Our son had a fever the other day, just a fever with no other symptoms.  Erin must have come down with it too because she had a low grade fever today too.  Her counts also reflect some of that as they are more skiwompus than usual.  If Erin's leukemia were to relapse then we would see a decrease in her platelets.

Labs from 6 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 13.4 (normal (6.0-17.0)
Hematocrit 38.9 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 220 (normal 150-400)
ANC 11,700 (normal 1500-8500)

Previous Labs from 5 Month Clinic
White Blood Count 4.4 (normal 6.0-17.0)
Hematocrit 39.0 (normal 34.0-40.0)
Platelets 216 (normal 150-400)
ANC 2300 (normal 1500-8500)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More on Sky View High School Cause Week

Last March, the Student Body Officers of Sky View High School organized a major event - CAUSE WEEK where they worked hard to sponsor our little Erin's wish to meet the Disney princesses.  I am sure they spent many hours working on Cause Week and even helping out our make a wish granter in carrying out a princess ball for Erin.

A big THANKS to
Corbin, Melanie, Miles, Tanner,
Josh, Kyle, Mike, & Natalie.

They made the most amazing video that was shown at their cause week assembly.  They gave us a copy and we watched it with tears in our eyes.  It still amazes me that MY CHILD had cancer, and that the pictures in this video are of MY CHILD.  You never imagine that things like this will happen to your own family.




A blood drive was held in honor of Erin.  It was the BIGGEST blood drive Sky View has ever had...126 students volunteered to donate blood!  Giving blood is an easy way to help kids like Erin. 

The American Red Cross says, "One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.  If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives!"


196 Make a Wish stars were hung from the ceiling of the school.
All in honor of Erin's wish.


Thank you Sky View High School student body!
We appreciate all your hard work

to make
Erin's
Wish
Come
TRUE!

Make-a-Wish Trip

Words cannot express the most amazing and wonderful time our family had together on Erin's make-a-wish trip.  We stayed in the the fabulous Give Kids the World Village where we had ice cream for breakfast.  You can see some pictures of us HERE.  We visited Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.  Pictures and details will come soon - I promise.  We are so grateful for everyone who helped us enjoy this trip.  We had the time of our lives together, we made memories that will never be forgotten and will forever be cherished.

Tomorrow is Erin's 6 month Clinic appointment at Primary Children's Medical Center - here's to praying for a good blood results.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lots of THANK YOUs!

Our social worker warned us that 2 months after we finished Erin's treatments that we would start to really feel the repercussions of what we had just gone through.  We lived on adrenaline for 7 1/2 months.  We lived each day one at a time.  We learned to expect the worst and to praise the smallest of small improvements.  So in February when we were struggling to be "normal" again and we hit a depressive slump, John and I talked about what would make us the happiest.  My reply was, "go on our make-a-wish trip and then be done with life."  (I'm not as crazy as I sound!) 

We have been looking forward to this trip for almost a year now.  Some quiet times in the hospital I would imagine our family laughing and playing at Disneyworld and not being torn apart between home and hospital and not having the word "cancer" be a part of our daily vocabulary. 

Our make-a-wish trip has been a part of our everyday discussion.  The kids are thrilled beyond comprehension.  We are so excited to enjoy a huge break and a special time to be together enjoying one another's companionship - without the thoughts of cancer.  Just the other day we received details about our trip and about staying in the Give Kids The World Village, which is specially for make-a-wish families.  I bawled while I read the letter out loud to John.  My heart has been so full just thinking about how special this is for our family and for Erin.

I have so many wonderful experiences I want to share about Erin's Princess Ball that make-a-wish threw for her and some awesome stuff I want to share about Sky View High School and their student body officers, but that will have to come in a later post.

I have so many people to thank.  I once started out writing thank you cards to as many people as I could think of, but I know that I couldn't write enough cards to everyone who has been so kind to our family.  The list grows by more and more people everyday.  We are very grateful for your love, your prayers, your support, your hugs, your meals, your friendship, and your faith in us and in our Savior.  I keep wondering who the amazing people were who left many treats, surprises, and Christmas gifts on our doorstep.  We wish we knew your names so that we could thank you personally!  Thank you for reading this blog and passing it on to others who have similar trials.  We only hope that this blog can help others to see that there is success over AML out there.

I want to thank EVERYONE who has been so generous in donating to our CureSearch Team Little Air Bear.  We are thrilled about how much money our team has raised and will continue to raise.  Our kids are excited about fundraising and at the end of the month they want to throw a lemonade stand and a fingernail painting stand to help raise more money.  So, be watching our street and please make a stop if you see the kids out with their signs and lemonade/fingernail polish.

Finally, I want to thank my older sister who also chopped her hair off this week.  You can see pictures HERE.  She had a previous hair donation that was 12'' long that she never mailed in and then with the cut she just did she had another 14'' to mail in.  With my 10'' we total 36'' of hair to donate.  I am so excited about this!  I love doing things for a good cause.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My cut for cancer

Today I was able to make a difference and give something back. When Erin was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia I contemplated shaving my head along with her. I saw a few parents who shaved their heads along with their cancer kiddos. A lot of dads do it, but not too many moms do for reasons we can all guess. I decided that instead of shaving my head that I would grow my hair out and donate it a year later. For some, I'm sure it isn't a big thing to just grow out their hair, but for me it was. My hair is so thick and it got so heavy and it started taking me 2 hours to let it air dry and it took forever to do. It was a sacrifice for me to do this, but I feel so much better having done it.
I made appointments for me and my girls to get their hair cut today. 
Erin was first.  She just got her edges trimmed up.



My five year old has also been growing her hair out, but she was really nervous this morning and she kept going back and forth about donating it or just trimming it. 


In the end she decided to just trim it because she didn't want the kids at school to not recognize her. She is still going to continue growing it out though, and when it gets really long then she wants to donate it. I have been really impressed by her courage to even want to donate her hair for a good cause.


Finally it was my turn.  I was a little nervous.


Just like that it was...chop chop chop.
10 inches.


I really like how it turned out.  It feels so much lighter and I love how it's not itching my neck.



A big thanks to Kristy Fairbanks at the Kutting Edge Salon in Logan for doing our hair today.  We LOVE Kristy!  My mom, sisters, me and my girls have all been going to her for many years.  She is a talented artist and she is so much fun to chat with.  Through some interesting circumstances we have also gotten to know Kristy's mom.  Make-a-Wish contacted Kristy's mom to ask her to make a princess gown for our little Erin.  It was really fun to figure out the connections between the amazing woman making Erin's gown and our talented hairdresser.  Our make-a-wish trip is coming up so soon.  We are all really excited.  Okay...we are way more than excited.  We talk about it everyday.  Everyday.

and help make a difference in
childhood cancer research.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Find a CURE for Erin!

I made this video while shedding a few tears.



Donate anything. 
It all makes a difference.

Read more about CureSearch

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The year that changed our lives

One year ago yesterday (June 1st) our whole lives changed.  Life as we knew it stopped and we started into a new life with cancer.  We where dragged through the wringer and we are all stronger for it.  I started this blog for Erin on June 2, 2010 on year ago today.  It has reached an audience of over 100,000 views in 10 countires.  I hope that Erin's experience will help others who have to suffer with cancer and hopefully raise awareness that we must find a cure for our children.

I have been apprehensive about reaching that dreaded day of June 1st - the day that we found out that Erin had cancer.  There are some emotions and feelings that I don't think I will EVER forget about that day.
June 2, 2010

June 20, 2010

June 1, 2011

Erin endured 146 days & nights spent at Primary Children's, 35 days of high dose IV Chemotherapy, Her ANC (immune system) was zero for 79 days, 6 Central line repairs, 34 Central Line Dressing changes, 4 Echocardiograms, 4 EKGs, 5 CT Scans, 2 MRIs, 1 Ultrasound, 1 Central line placement, 1 Central line removal, 6 Bone Marrow Aspirations, 4 Lumbar Punctures, 2 PEG chemo shots, 13 Blood transfusions, 13 Platelet transfusions, Highest Fever: 104.3 F (40.3 C), 35 different pharmaceuticals, Biggest insurance claim: $102,312.39

"Endurance
is not
just the ability
to bear a hard thing,
but turn it into
glory."
 
- William Barclay

 
Erin is such a beautiful strong little girl.  She has experienced so much in her young life.  She understands and comprehends things that most children never experience in life.  She has taught us all so much.  She has quietly suffered through much pain and sickness and all through it she still smiled.  I love my little air bear so much.  She is a beautiful example to us all.  I know that our Heavenly Father loves little children more than we can comprehend.  He loves my little Erin and I know that she will forever be blessed by this very difficult experience.

Utah kids fighting cancer!

These kids all have something in common

They are all fighting cancer

They all LIVE IN UTAH!

Watch this video of Erin and her friends.

Please help us find a cure!




Walk with us!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

It is only $10 to join the team.
If you cannot walk with us
you can join as a "virtual walker".

Thank you to Pat and Chelsea Carver
(Cami's parents) for making this video.