It all started when 13-year-old Jacqueline began experiencing swelling along the side of her neck back in November of 2018. Her mom, Maria, noticed that Jackie was self-conscious of the swelling and was trying to hide it with sweatshirts and turtlenecks. Concerned, Maria made an appointment with her physician. A short series of tests showed that Jackie was fine; they were told it was nothing to worry about.
The swelling continued to bother Jackie, however, so her mom asked to be referred to a specialist. From there, Jackie went to the hospital to have more tests and a biopsy, all of which revealed that she had stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. It causes cells in the lymphatic system to grow abnormally and potentially spread.
Soon after the diagnosis, Jackie began receiving treatment. While relatively short in duration, the chemo left her with serious side effects, including stomach issues that lead to a six-day hospital stay. “Treatment has definitely taken a toll on her body and her normal life as a new teenage,” shared Maria. Jackie, dealing with the physical pain of chemo, also had to endure the emotional pain of losing her hair as a young teen.
In addition to treatment side effects, the family also struggled with emotional challenges throughout Jackie’s recovery. “I had to quit my job to look after her,’ said Maria. “There were a lot of sleepless nights in the hospital as I worried for my daughter’s health. It was definitely difficult being a single mother and having a child that needed constant care.”
Every child who has been diagnosed with childhood cancer inspires us to Rally On to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Please join us in the fight against childhood cancer by making a donation or setting up your own Rally fundraiser today.