Komorebi Post– “Being brave means doing things we have to do, no matter how scared you are.”
Elayna once said, a very brave and magical little girl, who touched the hearts of thousands with her journey of being diagnosed with Wilms Tumor at the age of five. Her parents remember how she lived a full life filled with laughter and love, her smile and how she spent her time playing with her stuffed animals or reading her favorite Harry Potter books. She loved school and playing with her friends or her cat, Driver. But above all, their devotion is on dream that Elayna held for a cure and how she lived her life believing in the power of others.
Elayna passed away undergoing treatment after her second relapse on August 22nd, 2018, at the age of nine. According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children in the United States. Wilms Tumor is the most common type of kidney cancer that is diagnosed among children with kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Association.
What is Wilms Tumor?
Elayna lived a life very different from most children. She endured hundreds of chemotherapies and radiation treatments on her journey to recovery.
Elayna’s family shared that during her treatment, Elayna had:
- 254 doses of chemotherapy
- 24 radiation treatments
- 19 surgical procedures
- 37 blood transfusions
- 50 platelet transfusions
- 107 nights spent in the hospital
Wilms Tumor is treated through surgery by removing the tumor, chemotherapy, and radiation. Treatment is improving for children like Elayna, however, this is mostly due to many children being diagnosed with Wilms Tumor taking part in clinical research and new treatment trials. Elayna was one of the children who worked with her doctors to find creative medication and treatment options in an effort to give her a longer life.
Keeping Elayna’s Dream Alive
Elayna believed that someday there would be a cure for childhood cancer and that funding research was important. She believed that Unravel Pediatric Cancer was the organization at the forefront of research to finding a cure. Every year, she would go “fluttering,” which involved placing dragonflies in the yards of her friends, family, neighbors, and supporters who donated to the organization in her name. Every year, Elayna’s family continues to “flutter” and raise funds in Elayna’s memory and her name. Her mother shared that sometimes Elayna would stop her before bed and say:
“Mom, isn’t it amazing to know that there are scientists and doctors out there right now who don’t even want to take a break to go to bed because they want so badly to find a cure for kids like me.”
At the age of nine, Elayna was a change maker and inspiration to her thousands of supporters among her Team Elayna group. Sports teams, musicians, athletes, and just everyday people sent Elayna messages of support and love as she lived her life as a warrior with all the grace and wisdom of a maturity she would never fully reach in age. Elayna’s family shared that she would receive messages from people saying how her journey inspired them to live their lives more bravely, more fully, and joyfully. Her light still lives on in the stories, and smiles, and giggles she shared so publicly with others. Let us continue to be inspired by Elayna, and other children just like her. May we take the steps needed to give a longer life of smiles, giggles, and laughter to more children. May we believe and support researchers in a cure as much as Elayna believed in them. May we be Elayna Brave.
Unravel Pediatric Cancer is a non-profit organization that supports research and investigative studies into the causes, cures, and progressive treatment options for childhood cancer. While Elyana is no longer living on this Earth with us, we can keep her memory and her dreams for a cure alive. You can donate to fund Elayna’s dream for a cure here.