Fund Childhood Cancer Research in Honor of Rally Kid Wilhelmina

Fund Childhood Cancer Research in Honor of Rally Kid Wilhelmina

Wilhelmina’s Cancer Journey

Wilhelmina had always been strong, independent and a pretty healthy girl. She loves people, to learn and create. On October 18th, 2019 I got a call at work that Wilhelmina had fallen on the playground at school and could not put pressure on her left leg anymore.

I carried her into the CHOA urgent care in Kennesaw. An x-ray showed a rectangular image in her left tibia. She was diagnosed with a benign ABC, or Aneurysm Bone Cyst. She got a full leg cast, crutches and a wheel chair. She would need a bone graft to repair it. On November 22nd, 2019 Wilhelmina had the bone graft and a routine biopsy. That biopsy led to the word cancer, osteosarcoma, and she would need chemotherapy and an amputation. We would wait the weekend for confirmation. It was confirmed on November 25th, 4 days before Thanksgiving, Wilhelmina had cancer. She was exactly 7 1/2 that day.

After a CT scan and a full body PET scan we found out that thankfully the cancer had not spread. Wilhelmina got her port and began chemotherapy on December 9th. 6 rounds and then surgery.

Wilhelmina had two painful and invasive limb salvage surgeries to remove the tumor and save her leg. However, residual tumor was later found and she had to have a lower leg amputation. These three weeks spent in the hospital were anguishing and grueling for Matt and I, and I cannot imagine just how much more for Wilhelmina. We came home on March 15th- the day before lockdown began for COVID-19. Now that COVID-19 was in full force it created another layer of worry and separation for our entire family that lasted for years.

12 more rounds of chemo after surgery which would cause her many surgical wounds to regress and heal over the rest of her treatment. 32 infusions of chemo overall. These were long and trying months that included an infection and hospital stay over Easter. Mouth sores, extreme nausea and so much medication. And severe wound recession. Yet, she usually handled her own wound care like a pro.

Our two boys, who were 10 & 4 at the time were often without their mother and sister and worried. Cancer affects all family members.

Our family was joined by our sweet youngest child, Beatrix, in July 2020 when Wilhelmina had 2 treatments left.
Wilhelmina finished her last round of chemo her first week of 3rd grade. She rang the bell on August 7th, 2020. This moment was the first time that both parents were able to be in the hospital since we left Egleston on March 15th.
Wilhelmina has had to grapple with death, fear, anxiety, separation, pain, hair loss, sickness and becoming an amputee. And she has done so with a fortitude beyond words. She will be monitored for years to decades to come for chemo related health issues and for recurrence.

Wilhelmina started virtual school 2 days after coming home from hospital and her last chemo treatment. She is working hard enjoying learning and creating. She art, baking, basketball, and spending time with family and friends.
In September 2020 Wilhelmina’s wounds healed enough that she could begin walking on a prosthesis. Intense physical therapy has helped her relearn to walk and run. Beginning Fall 2021 she played soccer again, tried tennis and is enjoying basketball in the winter.

Wilhelmina began 6th grade this year and has started playing tennis again. She is quietly strong and courageous.
We have hope that Wilhelmina will continue to thrive. To laugh, to run, to live a full life.

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Wilhelmina’s 47 Faces Shirt

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