On October 2, 2007, Chase Ringler was diagnosed
Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. He was always healthy rarely
experiencing even a
cold. One day he woke up with a stiff neck and the next day
discovered he had Stage 4 cancer.
diagnosis began with the discovery of a
his left adrenal gland. It was approximately half the size of
ball. Other tests concluded that the cancer had already spread to his
bone marrow and skull. On October 4, 2007 he underwent
remove the tumor. It was a success, but not without
surgery it was discovered the tumor was entangled in the adjacent lymph
nodes as a result, his renal artery was cut which resulted in loss of
his kidney. His treatment consisted of 8 rounds of high dose
chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, 14 rounds of radiation, six
months of Accutane and monoclonal antibody therapy. His
very aggressive since risk of relapse is so high and there is no cure
for relapse. Chase has shown tremendous strength
courage through all of this. He continues to warm the hearts
everyone with his smile and laughter.
On October 17, 2005, Cooper Cates went to his 6 month
old well check at his pediatrician’s office. As part of the
normal checkup, Cooper’s doctor was feeling his abdomen. His face
became still and his demeanor changed. Cooper’s liver and spleen
were quite enlarged due to either anemia or a tumor. He was sent
immediately to MUSC’s oncology unit to undergo testing. His scans
revealed a large mass in his abdomen and his liver looked like Swiss
cheese. Cooper’s liver was taken over by tumors. Four days
later, Cooper had surgery to biopsy the tumor and find out exactly what
was taking over his body. Cooper had Stage IV Neuroblastoma and
was given a 20% chance of survival. They were able to take out the
entire softball-sized tumor which had flattened his left
kidney. He went through 5 rounds of high dose chemo and
then his parents were told the chemo was not working and there was no
hope left for Cooper. They proceeded with his 6th and final round
of chemo and ran another set of scans. Miraculously, the last set
of scans was clean. He then had a stem cell transplant followed
by 13 rounds of Accutane and was the first child at MUSC to receive
immunotherapy. The widespread pain and fevers took over his
infant body during this excruciating treatment. During this
difficult treatment, his parents were told to focus on
Kindergarten. Sure enough, Cooper is a happy and healthy 5 year
old that started Kindergarten this year. His parents credit
Cooper’s remission to the immunotherapy and, of course, God.
Jessica Jo Jury's Story
Jessica Jo Jury was always a happy child with a deep
chuckle and a very caring heart. On December 17, 1990, Jessica Jo
was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Immediately after diagnosis, she was admitted to Primary Children’s
Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and underwent surgery to insert a
central venous catheter. She began her chemotherapy treatments
those few days before Christmas 1990 and continued to fight and receive
monthly treatments. Although we know Jessica must have
experienced pain and discomfort throughout her treatments, she kept
being a great inspiration to those around her with her infectious smile
and laughter, all while being a protective big sister.
Jessica’s fight ended on April 27, 1991 as she passed away due to
complications of Neuroblastoma at the age of 2 years and 7
months. Some 20 years later, Jessica still touches the hearts of
many by stories being retold from her short but fulfilling life.
Jessica’s family continues today to be strong advocates for spreading
awareness of pediatric cancer.
Emily Kate Wooddin
Emily Kate Wooddin was always a healthy, active little girl and rarely
experienced any health concerns. So when she became extremely unwell in
October 2009, we knew something was seriously wrong with our daughter.
Over the course of 8 weeks Emily experienced a dramatic decline in
health. She became extremely lethargic, had no appetite what-so-ever,
and lost 4 kgs off her already tiny frame. ( I used to cry when she
would get in the bath or get undressed because my child was literally
fading away). She was in immense pain ( bony pain), was gray in
color and no life in her eyes... in hind sight this is because cancer
was consuming her body. Emily was literally dying before our eyes.
After numerous hospital appointments, blood tests etc she was diagnosed
with a Glandular Fever type virus and we were advised to "ride it out."
Her health continued to decline so we pushed and pushed for further
investigations. On January 8th, 2010, in Christchurch Public Hospital,
a mass was discovered in her abdomen... it was the size of an orange.
On the same day I felt a lump on the left side of Emily's skull.
An ultrasound of her abdomen confirmed our worst fears. Emily had a
malignancy of some kind). The tumor was then biopsied and was
discovered to be Neuroblastoma. A bone scan and bone marrow aspiration
further confirmed that the cancer had metastasized. We were taken
aside by the oncologist and told that Emily ( then aged 6 ) had Stage 4
Neuroblastoma and had just a 20 - 30% chance of survival. Her
oncologist said " The outlook is not good but there is hope. "
This news was obviously devastating to us all.
The next day the fight began. Emily was immediately fed via nasal
gastric feeding and was also fed intravenously. She was in such poor
condition given that she had not been eating for 9 weeks. A central
line put in and immediately proceeded with her treatment regime.
This consisted of 8 rounds of chemotherapy ( each round was 10
days apart and lasted for 3 days ), high dose chemo followed by a stem
cell transplant, surgery to remove the tumor and her left kidney, 14
rounds of radiation, 6 grueling rounds of immunotherapy and 6 months of
oral Accutane. This treatment was accompanied by approx 20 general
anesthetics, ongoing nausea and vomiting, social and psychological
issues, complications from the chemo, high temperatures and neutropenia.
finished treatment in February 2011 and is currently considered to be
in complete remission. While this is a good thing the risk of relapse
is 50% so we are certainly not out of the woods! Since the end of
treatment Emily has had two CT scans, both of which have showed No
Evidence of Disease (NED). Long may this continue. Emily is back at
school full time and is loving life. She walks on her tip toes as a
result of treatment, but otherwise lives a normal life.. ( whatever
"normal" is these days). Emily is the eldest of our 4 precious
children. Her baby brother was born 6 months into her treatment regime.
She is an asset to our family and we couldn't imagine life without her.
She showed strength and resilience throughout the treatment and
continues to inspire and amaze us all. We have to find a cure for
Neuroblastoma! The physical pain for the children and the mental
torture for the parents is so cruel! Let's turn our fear into
fundraising and CHASE AFTER A CURE!
On March 9, 2012, Emily relapsed in her jaw. She fought a long
courageous battle and on October 30, 2012, at the age of 8 years old,
Emily Wooddin passed away. Her mother, father and siblings miss her
son was the definition of a happy 8 month old baby. He was growing,
crawling and pulling up on things. On April 8 2009, He was diagnosed
with an ear infection at the pediatrician's office. He was treated with
Amoxcillin for a week. At the end of the week, we noticed he was not
better and had quit crawling or pulling up. Friday the 16th of April,
Christine noticed that he had pain in his right hip. Saturday the 17th,
Christine took Chase to the pediatrician and after an exam, the doctor
sent them to MUSC ER for further investigation. After 8hrs in the ER,
Chase was admitted to MUSC. By Sunday morning the decision was made to
operate on his hip to rule out a septic hip. He went through surgery
fine; however the findings were still not conclusive that this was the
cause of the fever and pain. Sunday midday, a resident was in checking
on Chase and noticed a lump in his abdomen. An ultrasound was ordered
and done Sunday afternoon where they found a mass in his abdomen. A CT
was ordered and preformed at 2:30 in the morning. Monday April
20th 2009, the doctors came in and informed us our baby boy had a tumor
in his abdomen the size of a softball, spots on his liver, kidney,
spine and two tumors in his skull. It was Stage IV Neuroblastoma
Cancer. Chase was given less than a 30% of survival. Here
is where Chase’s fight for his life begins.
Over the next 18 months, Chase received 11 rounds of
chemotherapy, 5 major surgeries, stem cell retrieval, over 100 days in
the hospital, and many days in the PICU. There were many, many
ups and downs during this process. While going through
chemotherapy Chase had a bout with a bacterial infection, called
C-DIFF. This added to the anxiety and extended his hospital stays.
On May 27th 2011, Chase had a set of scans that came back clean.
Since this time, he has had two more sets of scans that showed No
Evidence of Disease (NED). Chase’s Journey is not over. He
will have scans and tests done regularly to keep an eye on
things. We thank God daily for these positive results and pray
they will keep coming.