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zara cerni


My name is Samuel! And I am a blessed and healthy 7 year old boy! When I was 4 ½ years old, I was diagnosed with a rhabdomyosarcoma – a cancerous tumor of the body’s soft tissue. I had to have a couple surgeries, followed by a year of chemotherapy. We went to the hospital almost every week that year, my hair fell out a few times, but when it came back my parents let me grow it out until it was long and curly, and I loved it! When the doctors found the tumor, my Dad was very far away in a desert serving as an Army lieutenant (he’s a captain now!). My Dad is a real life super hero, and I missed him a lot. Now that he is home, we hang out all the time. One of our favorite things to do is watch football together. We both like to yell at the players and refs! My journey did not stop there. This past January, at 6 years old, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of the rhabdomyosarcoma. I had lost a lot of weight and wasn’t eating or drinking because the tumor had grown so big in my abdomen that there was no room for stuff to get into my stomach. I felt really yucky for a while, and we had to spend a long time in the hospital. The worst part was not being at home and missing my family. As you read this, I am finishing up a year of more aggressive chemotherapy combined with additional surgeries and radiation. I have been blessed in so many ways throughout all of this. My body has responded “miraculously” (my doctor’s word) to the treatment and supplemental care my parents have given me. The doctors planned to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy for a couple months and then be able to surgically remove the rest. Within EIGHT DAYS of starting treatment, the mass that was in my stomach was completely undetectable by touch. When they did the surgery a few months later, the only thing left in my body was dead scar tissue! My parents even sent some of the tissue to another lab for study, but their office had to report back that the sample “CONTAINED NO VIABLE CANCER CELLS”. At the very beginning, we all cursed the tumor at its root and claimed that whatever “mass” may have been there was completely DEAD and needed simply to be removed. I think God is awesome for healing me! I have a little sister, Trinity, who has been my constant “swim buddy” and has never left my side throughout this adventure. She is almost 6. We do everything we can together, especially playing games and sports. One of our favorite things is the kid fashion show we get to do with a cool group called Nellie’s Catwalk 4 Kids. They help kids and families touched by cancer, and that’s what we want to do. Even though I am overcoming cancer myself, I want to help other kids that are going through what I have gone through. Please don’t forget about us. Help raise more money for research to prevent and cure this stuff so we can ALL overcome!



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