This past weekend, my daughter Emily celebrated one year cancer free!
This is my little trick-or-treater Emily! We are so grateful to have this Halloween with her. We were in a very different place last year at this time — in the hospital, getting chemo, facing a bone marrow transplant. She missed trick-or-treating at home and was quite upset about it (however, she did get to trick-or-treat in the hospital and received a LOT more candy than she does at home…which did make her happy!). One year later she is in remission and doing really well! Emily decided to dress up as a kitty. She decided she wanted to be called “Lydia” while she was a kitty — I have no idea where she got that!
Lydia The Kitty:
Just a few pretty photos of my younger sister Brenda! I took these at our church after our niece’s baptism. I loved the stone wall and asked Brenda to pose for a few photos. She has served as my model in the past quite a few times — she’s very photogenic and look at those eyes!
I am really missing photographing during my favorite (and usually busiest) time of year. I took some time off and have only scheduled a session here and there so that I can spend more time with family this fall (to read why, see here).
I am running my first 5K as part of the Four Season’s Parkway Run & Walk event on September 30th which supports the Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)!
I have mentioned my daughter Emily in previous posts here and here. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in May 2010 when she was 5 years old. At that time, doctors told us that almost 90% of children with ALL are cured. Although she had a long journey ahead, which included 26 months of chemotherapy, we felt certain that with those odds she would be cured. We were shocked when we learned she had relapsed in October 2011. She had to begin a new treatment regime which consisted of 4 months of heavy chemotherapy and was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant in February 2012. Unfortunately, she relapsed again in February just two weeks before her scheduled transplant. Doctors tried another round of chemotherapy but was unable to get her back into remission. They told there wasn’t much more they could do because they didn’t think giving her more conventional chemotherapy would ever get her back into remission.
We were not ready to lose Emily and we were not giving up. We took her to CHOP and enrolled her in a highly experimental phase I clinical research trial. Emily was the first pediatric patient in the world to receive CART-19 cells. Emily’s own T-cells (a type of white blood cell) were removed from her blood and then in a lab were ‘trained’ to recognize and kill cancer cells. Once the T-cells were trained they were infused back into Emily’s blood. Although three adults were previously treated with CART-19 cells and had positive results doctors weren’t sure how or if the cells would work in a child. On May 10, 2012 we found out the CART-19 cells worked! They had killed all the leukemia cells in Emily’s body and she was in remission! Today, September 10th, marks 4 months since she has been in remission.
We know we would not have the time we have now with Emily if it wasn’t for the CART-19 trial and the brilliant and amazing doctors who took care of her. We think about that every single day. We saw firsthand how CHOP saves lives every day.
Our family’s motto is “We Believe”, so we named our team “Team Believe” for the Parkway Run & Walk. Please help us support the Cancer Center at CHOP — join or donate to Team Believe! http://giving.chop.edu/goto/KariW
Have you been interested in scheduling a photo session for Fall/Holiday Family Portraits? If you donate $50 or more to Team Believe you will receive a 30 minute photo session plus one 8x10 photo of your session for FREE! Just make your donation online (please make the donation in your name — if you check anonymous I cannot verify who it is) and send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know you made a donation of $50 or more. I will then be in touch to schedule your session! Sessions will take place the end of September through the middle of October. A limited number of sessions are available. You will also receive discounts through my online ordering system for any additional photos/products you order! I am SO excited to give back!
Emily, now 7 years old, is doing fantastic and started 2nd grade two weeks ago! You can read more about Emily’s story on her Facebook Page: Prayers for Emily (Emma) Whitehead or Caringbridge.
Due to my daughter’s illness I am not scheduling any portrait sessions until late summer/early fall. My 6-year old daughter Emily has leukemia and will be undergoing experimental treatments for several months. Until I am scheduling and posting new sessions again, I plan to post my favorite photos from years past, my favorite photos of Emily, and my favorite food photos along with recipes! Please scroll down for the newest blog posts.
Due to my daughter’s illness I am not scheduling any portrait sessions until summer. My 6-year old daughter Emily has leukemia and will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant in February. The new year was going to bring a lot of changes to KWP — it was going to be an exciting year. I hope it still will be but it will be delayed until the second half of 2012! Until I am scheduling and posting new sessions again, I plan to post my favorite photos from years past. I also plan to share my favorite photos of Emily.
If you would like to follow our journey you can do so here: http://www.facebook.com/emilybrookewhitehead
We are hoping for a healthier, happy new year!
Tom, Kari, Emily & Lucy
My daughter Emily started first grade this week. She rolled her eyes when she saw me grab my camera as we headed out the door. I had her stand in our front yard while I pleaded with her smile. She finally gave me a few fake looking smiles (along with more eye rolling)! My favorite photos though are the ones below which I took while we were waiting at the bus stop. I kept snapping the camera as she wondered around playing with our dog Lucy. I should have just started with the unposed photos from the beginning! My favorite photos are always the unposed, natural, everyday moments.
This photo of my 6-year old daughter Emily was taken on Easter just a few weeks ago. I am especially grateful this Mother’s Day. It has been almost one year ago that she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). It has been a rough year but I have learned to cherish each moment I have with my daughter even more. She has been a little self conscious of her hair because it’s still growing back in but I think it looks adorable. We plan to spend Mother’s Day outside planting flowers!
Have a great Mother’s Day!