Ally's Journey

June 14, 2018

 

Ally is not your typical 11year old kid. She is someone who has a HUGE heart and cares for others. She loves to be active, but then she likes to relax and watch movies. Ally has accomplished a lot in her youth years. She started playing baseball/softball around age 6, for the YMCA and then, she started with the Parks and Rec coach pitch. She was a player that learned all the positions of the field. She was a strong teammate and always cheered them on from the field as well as the sidelines. When she moved up in age to the 9-10 year old, she started to pitch and was pretty accurate at it. Now she is apart of a travel tournament softball team. She continues to improve and strive to be the ideal teammate. To her she has 10 other sisters, who are her best friends, that she can play softball with and cut up when there is down time.

 

Ally also started Taekwondo at the age of 8 and worked her way up the ladder. One of her strong suites in taekwondo is her forms. She has high kicks and a strong snap when it comes to punches and blocks. When it comes to sparing, she can in her words, "take the boys to the wood shack" when she needs to... She has attended many Regional and National tournaments, where she has brought home the Gold, Silver and Bronze in her categories. Ally earned her 2nd Degree Decided Black belt this past February 2016. She also has achieved her Level 1 instructor color which for those who are not familiar with taekwondo, its a red ribbon around the color of the uniform jacket.

When it comes to school, Ally strives to do her best. She is an Honor student at C.C. Griffin Middle school, in Concord. Good grades have never come easy for her but she never quits. That has been our motto. She is always trying to better herself when it comes to her studies. She enjoys school and is always trying to please her teachers. With hard work she has achieved the Honor roll in most of her quarters of school.

So as you can see Ally has accomplished a lot in her youth years. But she hasn't quit yet. Cancer has picked the wrong Diva to mess with.

In January/February 2016 Ally started to lose weight and have night sweats. We thought it was her body getting ready for the change from being a kid to being a young pre-teen. At first we just dismissed these symptoms until the weight loss affected her muscle mass in her arms and legs. When they weighed Ally at the March doctor's appointment, she had lost 7.5lbs of weight since November 2015. We took Ally to her pediatrician who performed blood work. At first it was said to eat more protein, dark leafy greens and take a vitamin with iron. After 3-4 week we went back for a check-up. We were hoping all her labs and weight would have improved. Her red blood count from March's blood work was 9.5. But she had lost more weight and her red blood count decreased another point to where it was 8.5. Her pediatrician was stumped as to what was going on inside of Ally. So she referred her to a Hematologist. So on Monday, April 25th we met with Dr. Hinson who is apart of Levine's Children Oncology. She examined Ally and ordered a chest x-ray and of course more blood work. We weren't even to our car in the parking deck when we got a phone call from Dr. Hinson asking us to return to the office. She already had the results of her chest x-ray. As parents, our hearts sank, when we were told that Ally had a large mass in her chest just above her heart. She stated that Ally needed to be admitted to the Levine's Children's Hospital in Charlotte that night. She was admitted, and started with multiple test the following days. On Tuesday she had her PET scan to see if there was any other tumors in Ally's body. There were 5 in total but the main tumor that was the size of a newborn's head in diameter was the one they were the most concern about because of its location. Wednesday was the day she was to have her biopsy and bilateral bone marrow aspiration. The Dr stated that he wanted to make sure this disease hasn't spread into the bones and was recommended on all his pediatric cancer patients. The surgeon removed the tumor that was under her left armpit due to it being superficial and not wrapped up in nerves. Ally was able to sleep and relax on Thursday. We got Ally's diagnosis on Friday which was confirmed as, Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 3. She was scheduled for her port placement later that day. They started Ally on her chemotherapy on Saturday. Due to Ally's hemoglobin that was at 7.7 they were concern that after her first day of chemotherapy it would drop causing other health problems. So as parents we consented for the hospital to give Ally her first blood transfusion. She did amazing. She was awake and asking the nurse's questions every time they came in. She wanted to go through all her snacks that she received over the course of the week and wanted to donate to other patients and parents. This was the Ally we haven't seen in weeks. She was full of life again. Ally had 3 days of chemo followed by a 1 day chemo treatment on day 8 of each cycle. In between certain cycles she will be re-scanned to make sure the chemo is doing what it should and that is shrinking each tumor she has in her body. They're estimating her chemotherapy treatments to last between 3.5 to 4 months followed by 3 weeks of radiation therapy to her mediation. This timeline will go as planned as long as her body excepts the chemotherapy without any unforeseen fevers, infections or delay due to low white blood counts or ANC's. So as you can read, we have a short but long journey ahead of us. But I can say this, we beat it once (Ally's dad beat Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma). We will beat this the 2nd time but for good this time. Ally has many names ( Team Ally, Diva Ally, Ally Strong). Her taekwondo family stated that this cancer as messed with the wrong Black Belt. Her softball team, knows she's going to "knock it out of the park".

 

Ally is now 14 years old and has a bright future ahead of her. Through her journey so far, she has meet a lot of people and some celebrities. She was invited to the Panther's Training camp in 2016 and then this year she was invited to the Martin Truex Jr Foundation, Catwalk for a Cure. She has helped numerous candidates raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in further their research in blood cancer's. She recently excepted the nomination for Student of The Year that will start in January 2019.

 

Ally has an amazing support team behind her. Her story is reaching so many people across the USA and even across the seas. Her journey isn't over, it has just begun. We will stand next to our new brother's and sister's who are still fighting their battles. One day there will be a cure for cancer and we will have a HUGE CELEBRATION when that happens. 

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