Through our STARS Program, we honor the strength and courage of these individuals and their families. With each story, we raise awareness about the struggles associated with childhood cancer and also foster empathy in our triathletes.
Somali had just started pre-K when she started having fevers and fatigue and missed 2 weeks of school– we soon found out she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and she ended up admitted for several weeks to Georgetown Hospital to get induction chemotherapy. After that she missed most of the next year of school. She had clinic visits frequently for intravenous and intra-spinal chemotherapy, and daily chemotherapy pills at home for the next 26 months. She was admitted multiple times to the hospital over that period with various infections due to her immunocompromised state, including once in the intensive care unit. Her biggest source of comfort were her grandparents who came frequently to help care for her and especially her dog, Ginger. She eventually returned to school after just doing Skype with her class for “Morning Meeting” for most of that first year. She went back where she was able to enjoy her friends but still didn’t feel totally like a regular kid since she had to miss so many days of school in kindergarten and 1st grade. Now she is finished with chemo for over a year and is in second grade full time and catching up at school. She plays soccer and is one of the fastest girls on her team! Amazingly, she still has good memories of clinic (and still goes, every 2 months, for a blood draw and check up) mostly because of how nice and nurturing everyone is there and particularly because of the art therapy at Georgetown.