Emily "Emma" Whitehead :: My Journey Fighting Leukemia » My journey fighting childhood cancer.

First Update of 2015

We have had a lot of positive things happening lately which gives us the chance to continue spreading awareness about Emily’s miracle and the amazing success her therapy continues to have. She has been feeling great and she is thriving in 4th grade, learning to play the piano, and finally ready to try organized sports. We continue to get amazing offers for film and TV projects and we tell everybody as long as Emily feels good and that they make it fun for her then we will participate. The message is what is important and we want to make sure in the future all parents who battle pediatric cancer have the outcome that we have had. We know that there are many other trials waiting to start that need funded. Emily has even said when asked in interviews that she doesn’t want to lose any more friends.

emily-jn-15-2PINIMAGETwo weeks ago, Emily had an appointment at CHOP for bloodwork. While we were there we did filming and interviews with Shane Smith of HBO’s documentary show Vice. The T-cell therapy will be featured on an episode in late February. Shane mentioned that the T-cell therapy has reported a 90% success rate. Meaning that 90% of kids who get T-cells are able to achieve remission. I said that is phenomenal but it isn’t high enough. That means 10 families out of 100 will go home without their kids and we know many of these families. We know if there was more funding that Dr Grupp and all of the other oncologists would not have to be devastated when they have to tell another family that with all of their efforts, for some reason their child would not survive. I am amazed at how all of the staff dealing with pediatric cancer can deal with the stress. We are trying to do everything we can to get more donations and funding.

The Ken Burns film called the Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies will air on PBS on March 30, 31 and April 1. It will be 2 hours per night and Emily’s story will be toward the end of the series. A one hour premier has been made and it will be shown on February 12th at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. We will attend and then participate along with director Barak Goodman in a discussion with the audience after. It is open to the public.

emily-jan-15-1PINIMAGEWe have more exciting things to announce in the future but the most important thing is that Emily’s bloodwork came back with zero B-cells. The T-cells are still working and her bloodwork looks perfect. I wish I could say we will worry less now but the truth is we are now and will always just be happy for every day we get to spend as a family.

We Believe!
~Tom

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  • Stefani - As always I’m very proud of you Emily.I’m happy for the fact that you are so strong at this age of your life.I was also a cancer patient few months back and survived because of my parents.I didn’t want to continue the cancer treatments but my parents didn’t want to stop either.For them I live now.ReplyCancel

  • Tony Wroten - Hi Emily,

    I loved hearing about your story on HBO’s VICE and am so glad you are feeling better and successfully “Killing Cancer.” Back in 2012, my little 12-year old cousin Sofia lost a hard fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Although she received chemotherapy for several years prior to her death and was in remission for a while, the chemo actually negatively affected her heart and eventually she died of heart failure on April 3, 2012 (right around the same time when you were in your own battle against cancer). Although we miss her very much, her loss has lit a fire in me to do anything possible to help other kids suffering from cancer successfully fight the horrible disease. Your story inspired me to inform my aunt and uncle about your success and the treatment that was used to help you. I have no idea what they plan on doing with the information, but I hope they are just as inspired as I was after hearing your story and it will help them with their own foundation, Sofia’s Hope (sofiashope.org). I hope some day someone will develop a similar treatment that can fight Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and cure kids just like you. I wish you the best and hope you fulfill your dream of going to college at UPenn. I myself just graduated from Indiana University and had some of the best years of my life, so you have a lot to look forward to.

    Thanks,
    TonyReplyCancel

  • Denise Kramer - My mother has leukemia, she is very old but I will watch this for my future and the future of my loved ones. Emily you are my hero, such a sweet lovely girl….stay strongReplyCancel

  • pat smith - My 4yr old granddaughter was recently diagnosed with ALL.Like Emily she was considered standard Tx,with a 90% cure rate until her genetic report came back with the leukemia cells being hypodyploid with less than 29 chromosones This happens to less than 1% of childhood leukemia pts.It happens to mostly adolescents.She was then placed on high risk and removed from clinical trial.She is now coming to an end of her induction phase and will be hoping and praying for remission.The tx plan is not definite yet but we r looking at a bone marrow transplant.If that does not work then she may be able to quailify for the t-cell tx.Her name is Alexis Rucker from Shenandoah ,Va.Please keep her in ur prayers!!ReplyCancel

  •  Jiang Dong - Pray for Amily,be healthy forever.ReplyCancel

  • Judy Williamson - I BELIEVE in Morrisdale. I pray for your entire family each morning to St. JudeReplyCancel

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