Meet Journey – Retinoblastoma Warrior
“We are very grateful for all assistance the NCCS has provided. Journey has completed chemo and although the road to the journey has been long, she has been resilient,” said Journey's mom.
Like other kids her age, 2 year-old Journey had routine checkups with her doctor. During one of her regular appointments, Journey’s mother, Somer, pointed out a spot she had noticed in her daughter’s eye. Unsure about what it was, her doctor sent them to a specialist. It didn’t take long for him to diagnose Journey with cancer – she had bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye.
Journey’s parents were in the military and the family was living in Germany at the time of her diagnosis. The local doctors recommended having Journey’s eye removed, but because of the language barrier, Journey’s mother was uncomfortable with moving forward with treatment in Germany. The best hospital for Journey’s cancer wasn’t just across the country – it was across the world in Philadelphia.
They met with Journey’s new doctors in Philadelphia where they learned their daughter’s treatment plan required weekly chemotherapy and follow-up appointments for months. Somer expressed her financial concerns to the hospital social worker since Journey’s father took medical leave and Somer resigned from military her job to care for their daughter.
The organization was there to help with travel assistance – ensuring Journey got to every appointment. The family also qualified for meal assistance through the Emergency Assistance Fund and their case manager provided much-needed emotional support.
Journey responded extremely well to chemotherapy and within a few months, the tumor was gone. But just when they thought they were out of the woods, doctors found a new tumor began growing in the same eye and she immediately began chemotherapy for the second time. The NCCS assisted Journey’s family once again.
“We are very grateful for all assistance the NCCS has provided. Journey has completed chemo and although the road to the journey has been long, she has been resilient,” said Somer.