In March 2017, at the age of 20, my daughter, Sonata "Sonny" lost an almost 18-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). She endured many rounds of chemotherapy, participated in multiple clinical trials, and was blessed to have a bone marrow transplant in May 2016. Her case was one that makes standard treatment options very tricky because she had a genetic mutation, referred to as FLT3, which protected the leukemia cells in her blood and made her resistant to chemotherapy.
Sonny was a positive beacon of strength and took her situation as an opportunity to help others. Not only did she support other patients by donating gifts, time, money, and her very own hair, she helped organize two teams participate in the 2016 Light the Night walks. I will be participating in the 2017 Light the Night walk in Erie, PA on September 21, 2017 in her honor.
We have all been touched by cancer of some form. My daughter's treatment and ability to participate in clinical trials are examples of the importance of dedicated research teams to help cultivate individual treatments that work. Together, through sharing our stories, we can make a difference and show cancer that WE are in control. In my daughter’s words, "Not every treatment works for every person, that's why I believe it is so important to continue to fund this research.”
My only love, my daughter, I hope you spend eternity by your favorite beach's soothing water. The love of my life and keeper of my heart, I just cannot bear that it is almost time for us to part. I will kiss your forehead just once more as you cross over with God waiting at heaven's door. Cancer may have taken you from this world, but you will forever be my beautiful baby girl.