Never on the radar, never a thought. However, that's how pediatric cancer worked for us, we never expected it and it came out of nowhere. Perry and Bailey were running around playing in the backyard like 4 and 3 year olds do. Bailey accidentally knocked Perry down. Perry started crying a different cry then before and complained of her side hurting. Eventually, the pain subsided and we chalked it up to typical pain. A trip was planned to Charlotte, so Brittany and the girls loaded up the car and headed on their way. The next morning, September 11th, 2021, Perry woke up with a low grade fever and complained of the same pain in her side. From a friend's recommendation, Perry and Brittany went to the ER at Levine's Children's Hospital in case scans were needed. At that point, we were worried that worst case scenario was possibly Appendicitis. We could only wish. After ultrasound and CT, the doctors told us we were going to be admitted. Brittany called Griffin, a phone call that won't be forgotten, "they found a mass on her kidney, get here now". When Griffin arrived, he was greeted by a smiling, goofy Perry. Later that evening, after still wondering what could be the issue, the doctor came in and introduced himself as the attending oncologist. Gut punch. Perry was diagnosed with a Wilm's Tumor, the most common tumor found in children's kidneys with statistics of of Wilm's dropping significantly at age 5. Perry had a Stage III Wilm's tumor with a very high survival rate. We met with doctor's at local hospitals in Raleigh and decided we would start treatment at Duke Children's in Durham. Perry had surgery to have her right kidney removed on September 16th and her first chemo treatment was on September 23rd. In the early weeks of her journey, Perry also had 11 radiation treatments administered. Since September, Perry has been under the care of Dr. Lars Wagner and Dr. Jonathan Bardahl, in addition to countless nurses, Arts for Life teachers, social workers, and her beloved Childlife Specialist, Nicole. Perry completed her last chemotherapy treatment and rang the bell on August 18th, 2022.
From the beginning, our family has been surrounded with support. Early phone calls, tearful conversations, prayers, gifts, meals, hugs, everything is what got us through those first days, weeks, and months. That support has been what has continued to give us the strength to stay positive and keep HIGH HOPES. We have seen and met other families during our time at Duke that we get the sense they don't have the same network that we do. It's unimaginable to know what it would feel like to go through this journey alone. We never want families to feel that way and after a lot of planning and hardwork, we filed for our 501(c)(3) in January of 2022 and in honor of Perry's journey and all of those who have supported us, we started High Hopes Non-Profit.
We cannot thank you enough for all that support we have received.