Andrea, Eryn’s mom, shared how their lives changed at the end of last year. On top of a global pandemic, they were now faced with trying to save their daughter’s life.
“We first noticed something was wrong with Eryn right before Christmas. Eryn’s stomach felt very firm on the right side and appeared swollen. On January 4th, 2021, we learned that Eryn had a large tumor in her right kidney. That night, we drove from our home in Pikeville, Kentucky to Cincinnati Children’s. The next day, they did more tests and came up with a plan. Her kidney and the tumor were removed on January 6th.
It was devastating to hear the news of Eryn’s diagnosis from the doctors. It’s something that no parent ever thinks they will go through. Honestly, it feels like a grievance to accept your child has cancer. We were distraught and terrified when we first found out.
She spent the next few weeks in the hospital. Her pathology report came back that she had stage two Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney (CCSK). It’s a very rare pediatric cancer occurring in less than 20 children per year in the US. She started chemotherapy and radiation treatment within days of her diagnosis. She has completed her radiation treatments but is still working her way through 27 weeks of chemotherapy. Right now, she is spending most of her time inpatient at the hospital.
We were very stressed and overwhelmed with all of the traveling this new journey was about to entail, so we decided it would be best to stay close to the hospital. We were very blessed to get into the Ronald McDonald House. It’s not our home, but it’s the closest thing we have right now and we are so thankful. It brings my heart so much joy to see her pick out toys from the toy closet and bring them up to the room. She will play with them for hours and hours!
One positive thing I have to say about COVID-19 is that the new precautionary measures taken by the public help to keep an immunocompromised child like Eryn safer. The increased use of masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer are a mother’s dream for protecting her sick baby.
The donations people make to the House have made it possible for us to survive this treatment. We are from a small town, several hours from here. With the extraordinary amount of appointments Eryn has at the hospital, it would be almost impossible to travel back and forth. The House provides us a warm, safe place to stay while we are here. They bring us warm meals when we haven’t had time to think about food. They have provided us with toiletries and other products that have allowed us to cut back on grocery store trips and unnecessary exposure to the public. Eryn looks forward to her toy closet visits most of all. Every time we walk by the toy closet, she looks inside at all the toys.
Thanks to the generous donors, the House has been able to give her multiple toy closet tickets since we’ve been here. We like to save them for discharge days from the hospital. She’s starting to learn that the day she gets to leave the hospital usually means a new toy from the toy closet. It means so much to us to be able to treat her with a new toy on those tough days. In an unfamiliar world where we don’t have much control, this home has become our constant. Thank you to everyone who makes it possible.
Thank you all at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House for being so kind to our family. I don’t know what we would do without you all right now.”