The story of four-year-old Malia, and her treatment for stage IV cancer at Boston Children's Hospital, one of Parents top 10 children's hospitals for 2013.
My name is Glenn Gesek. When my daughter, Malia, was 2-1/2, she began screaming with severe belly pain. Doctors where we lived in Florida thought Malia had Urinary Tract Infection and treated her with antibiotics, but the pain never went away. Then, my wife demanded an ultrasound. When we were told we needed to speak with a pediatric oncologist, I braced myself. A tumor was crashing my daughter's kidney. Even worse, the cancer had spread all over her body through her bones and bone marrow, Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. I know it was bad when the oncologist in Orlando started trying, saying you had a 5-year old and couldn't imagine how we felt. Our daughter had a 40 percent chance of survival. It was going to take the finest medical care possible to save my daughter's life. I'm originally from Massachusetts and I knew Boston Children's Hospital was the best place in the world for her. We didn't hesitate, Boston became home again. Boston Children's doctors did what they always do. They gave everything they had to save Malia. It wasn't easy. She had rounds of chemo, a stem cell transplant, three major surgeries and radiation. She lost a kidney and an adrenal gland. Sometimes, her little body was so weakened, she couldn't walk. Malia is still in physical therapy to strengthen her core and work on balance. She will be battling this her whole life. But it was all worth it because Malia is now in remission. She's now 4 and to ensure that's she stays in remission, Malia has entered a new 2-year trial. She's only the 7th child in the world to be treated in this new way. The goal is to keep the neuroblastoma cells from spreading. When Malia was sick, she used to enjoy watching other people swim, either live or on YouTube. Now she swims, walks on the beach, and is fearless on the water slides and roller coasters. She has her life back. But most of all, thanks to the docs and nurses at Boston Children's Hospital. My little girl has the chance for her future, any future.