Meet Emma, age four, of Thompson. Emma is a shopper. In fact, it's her favorite hobby. She's also a competitor. At her young age, she's already competed in a wheelchair track meet. This spring she will be joining a wheelchair soccer league. You could call her an ultimate fighter too. She just completed a rigorous 16-month treatment for neuroblastoma.
Today, Emma shows no evidence of active disease. She will continue to have scans every three months for the first year following treatment completion. If those scans continue to show no disease, her scans will move to every six months, and ultimately scans will be done annually. Her family is hopeful that in 2024, she'll be declared a survivor.
Emma's diagnosis and aggressive treatment have taken a toll on her young body with the most obvious being that she is paralyzed from the chest down, due to a tumor being wrapped around her thoracic spine, causing complete spinal cord injury from T1-T7. Because of her paralysis, Emma has a difficult time clearing her lungs when she gets ill, so she depends on oxygen, a BiPap machine, and a nebulizer to support her breathing and a vest that vibrates to help her clear her lungs.
After three rounds of chemotherapy, Emma stopped eating by mouth, and since then has been completely dependent on tube feeds for her nutrition. Emma also faces bilateral profound hearing loss brought on by the platinum-based chemotherapies she had received.
After having spent so much time in hospitals, Emma is happy to be done with treatments and home with her younger brother, Jack, though she stays very busy with multiple clinic visits, physical and occupational therapy both within and out-of-state, along with ongoing wheelchair adjustments.
Emma has recently been introduced to Hope, Inc. to take part in adaptive sports, hence her track and upcoming soccer accomplishments.
Emma, you've been through more than anyone should. We are cheering for you and your family.