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Sarah Smith
August 23, 1995
6 years old at diagnosis
Country Manteo, NC USA
Brenner Children's Hospital, Winson Salem, NC, Duke Hospital, Durham, NC, Sloan Kettering, New York City, NY

When Sarah was six, she started running unexplained fevers, became pale, was very stiff and had a lot of pain in her joints and bones. We took her to a couple doctors who had no idea what was wrong. They finally sent her to Brenner Children's Hospital.
After three days of testing, they were about to send her home with a diagnosis of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis but a last minute scan "just happened" to show the shadow of a tumor that no one had seen before. (Without treatment, she could have been dead in a month.) Diagnosis was Neuroblastoma, Stage IV, N-Myc amplified. Her chances of survival (being as old as she was at diagnosis) were less than 20%.
Sarah had a tough time during treatment but kept her sense of humor intact through it all. In fact, she made up a super hero name for herself, "Vomit Girl." She even had a velvet cape made up (that she wore through the halls) with "VG" written on it in sparkly letters. It brought a lot of smiles to medical staff and patients alike!
She did the "normal" protocol; surgery, chemo, radiation, transplant. After a relapse in 2006, she is doing very well and has few side effects from her treatment. She does however have some high end hearing loss and a few learning disabilities. She is beautiful and smart and has a keen appreciation for life that most people don't have especially not at her age.
Cancer brought into our family the worst of times and the best of times--we would never want to go through it again but we would never trade the treasures that the cancer journey brought into our lives.
Sarah wants to be an author and book store owner when she grows up. She has written several books already (a couple of them over 100 pages!) and she loves nothing more than learning new (big) words. In fact, she's started using words that her dad and I don't even know, so we're running to keep up!
She has a dog, Snowy, that was with her during all of her cancer treatment and was the best nurse a girl could ever have. The two of them are joined at the heart.
In May of 2010, she will be an 8-year survivor of one of the deadliest pediatric cancers there is. We are so thankful, blessed and yet heartbroken for the kids who didn't make it this far. Our prayers and hearts are with all of our fellow Fighters of Neuroblastoma including their friends and families.