Azalea Coolidge was originally diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Amplified Neuroblastoma on March 7, 2017 at the age of two years old. Her parents first noticed something was wrong when her stomach started bloating, she was sweating more than normal, not eating normally and became very lethargic. Azalea was brought to her pediatrician who immediately sent her to the nearest pediatric oncology clinic at Albany Medical center. It was there that they discovered tiny Azalea had a six inch tumor in her abdomen crushing her vital organs and arteries. If they didn’t start treatment soon she would have died.
Azalea has gone through six rounds of high dose chemotherapy (two at Albany Med and the rest of treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC), multiple port and central line placements and replacements, chest and abdomen drainage tubes, so many PICU and inpatient stays we’ve lost count, CT, MIBG and MRI scans, multiple four point bone marrow biopsies, blood and platelet transfusions, suffered mouth sores, hair loss, vomiting, a 12 hour surgery to remove her 6 inch tumor from her abdomen, two weeks of back to back sedated radiation sessions, lots of different daily medications, five rounds of painful 3f8 immunotherapy treatments, and she only had one last injection of the vaccine trial to complete when she relapsed on October 19, 2018 just before her fourth birthday. Azalea had been clear of cancer a little over a year when a new spot was detected on her right arm.
Since relapse she has been fighting hard despite the obstacles she’s had to overcome. Azalea has gone through two rounds of IT chemotherapy, ten more rounds of radiation to her arm, daily GM-CSF injections and two more rounds of painful 3f8 immunotherapy treatment that she’s had life threatening severe allergic reactions too. She still needs to complete three more rounds of 3f8 immunotherapy and a year long vaccine trial if she remains clear in hopes that she can reach permanent remission. Despite all of the trials Azalea has been through she always ends each day with a smile on her face.
AAron and Susie Stark
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