In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the entire month of September, I reached out to my friend Maci to see if she wanted to share her angel baby Luna's journey with cancer. Childhood cancer is unfortunately a topic that is discussed very little. I hate to say that I didn't even know the month of September was dedicated to childhood cancer awareness until my own son passed away, catapulting me into the child loss community. My boy did not pass away from cancer, but several loss parents I have met on this journey have kids who have fought the dreaded cancer, that eventually stole their lives from them.
So take a moment out of your day to read Luna's story and a huge thank you to Maci for taking the time to write this.
"When Luna was 2 months old she started to have blood in her diapers. We were worried, but not cancer level worried. We rushed her to the ER where a CT scan showed that she had a large mass on her right kidney and also cancer in her lungs.
They told us she had more than likely had Wilms Tumor and that if she had to have cancer that this was the one. It had a very high survival rate. Unfortunately, a week or so later her doctor told us that she had a different cancer called MRT. (Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor (MRT) A rhabdoid tumor is a rare childhood tumor that commonly starts in the kidneys and other soft tissues). It was a very rare and aggressive cancer, only 20-25 kids got it a year in America.
I never thought my kid would have cancer, and to add to that, a rare cancer with an 8.8% survival rate, that was at a normal diagnosed and she was stage 4.
I never thought I would wish my kid had a different form of cancer, but I did.
When her Dr. told us about her new cancer I remember her saying stuff like “your daughter is more than a number.” I lost it at that point because I remember the hopefulness in their voice when they thought it was Wilms.
She started chemo and we went off to St. Jude for radiation. Up until this point being at St. Jude was the hardest 2 weeks for me. She had to be put under every day for radiation and then was in the hospital getting heavy chemo at the same time. The chemo adults call the “red devil.”
Once we got home things got a lot better. She got chemo every week and got pretty sick every time she was inpatient but Luna was SO JOYFUL that when we were home we would momentarily forget about her cancer and get to enjoy time with her.
When she got diagnosed I thought life would be awful until she was done with chemo, but that wasn’t the case. Some nurses became like family. They helped us so much by just being people we could talk to about anything.
On September 10th we found out she was cancer free. This was the best day of my life. I have never experienced so much joy and relief knowing that my baby was okay and that she was going to live. But in the back of my mind I feared that it would come back. One Radiologist at St. Jude told me that if her cancer came back she was going to die. I didn’t even ask for that information but I heard his voice every day.
We only enjoyed her remission for 9 weeks and 6 days before her oncologist told us her cancer was back and that she was going to die.
Luna passed away on December 12th 2021 at 8 months old.
What happened to Luna and our family is not fair and not okay. The lack of awareness and government funding for childhood cancer is devastating. Even though Luna’s cancer journey was a huge part of her life, you would never know, because how strong and joyful she truly was, there is so much more to her personality.
Luna was always the loudest baby in the room. She had this super cute high pitch squeal when she was happy and it would honestly just melt your heart. She loved eating so much! Give that girl French fries and she was squealing. Her favorite show was Bluey and she really loved to cuddle.
You couldn’t know Luna and not love her. Her energy was contagious just like her smile. "