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Team Serena

SUPPORT TEAM SERENA

Read Serena's Story and Order Your Team Serena Shirt Below!

Proceeds from the sale of these shirts will go to Serena and her family.

The front of this shirt is shown below and depicts Serena at the feet of Jesus. The back of this shirt has the words to a beautiful song written for Serena and Serena's mom before she was even born. The words to this song are below.

This design can be ordered on all of the shirts below.

SERENA'S STORY

Serena was born on 11/30/04. She was diagnosed with Stage 4, High Risk, Neuroblastoma Cancer on 6/23/08 when she was 3 years old. This is a childhood cancer that is the second most common in children (2nd to Leukemia). However, it only affects 600 children per year in the United States. There are only 25 percent of those 600 that are in Serena's category (stage 4, high risk) It effects the nerves and normally originates in the adrenal glands. With Serena it did in fact originate in the left adrenal gland where a hard tumor developed and wrapped around the gland and interferred with the left renal arteries. The Cancer has also affected her entire spine; every vertebrae in her vertebral column, and her bone marrow throughout most of her body. In the rest of the body, the Cancer presents itself a little differently. It is not hard tumors. Our Oncologist described it like this: "Picture throwing a bowl of oatmeal against the wall. There will be patches where it is thick and patches where it is thin, and patches where the oatmeal doesn't stick at all. Outside of the adrenal tumor, that is how most of the rest of the neurblastoma cells present themselves."

She will need at least 7 rounds of High Dose Chemotherapy, Surgeries (2), Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant (from her own body), radiation and finally a medication called Accutane. We are looking at 5 months of Chemo, an ongoing schedule of "cycles" of 3-5 days in Johns Hopkins for Chemo, then home for 3 weeks (assuming there are no complications) to recover between each cycle of chemo, followed by the rest of the procedures after the chemo shrinks the cancer to a smaller size. The Oncologist says if everything goes according to our "rough schedule"; Serena will be done treatment in the summer of 2009. Sweet Serena has a long hard road ahead of her and we remain optimistic in spite of the statistics that we were quoted from websites and Doctors. Current treatment offers a 30 percent success rate. We have Serena enrolled in a clinical trial which hopes to raise that number to 55 percent and even higher as the research and clinical trials continue. We can't wait for the day when that number is 100 percent and Serena was one of the success cases to make that happen. She will be a survivor. She is too independent, adorable and important in this world. She is like a ray of sunlight. She brightens a room when she enters it. Our family and friends are helping us focus on our cup being half full and NEVER half empty. We thank you for your prayers, positive energy and positive healing thoughts. Thank you for supporting us and most importantly, thank you for supporting Serena. It means the world to us.

"The Reason" For Becky to Serena
Written by Lisa Lopatta
September 2004


How was I to know such a tiny soul could rescue me
To look into your eyes is to see this old world new
Now that you are here, what came before fades away
Now that you are here, I know why I'm here too

More than once I had prayed in the darkest night
Longing for what I could not name
But I prayed for it with head bowed and hands clasped tight

Not exactly lost... but no sense of my direction
Not exactly sad... but joylessly making do
Looking for a sign... searching for a reason
I looked into your eyes and found myself in you

Prayers are answered in God's own way and in God's good time
Happiness, sure to wax and wane
Oh, but what peace when you finally hold your heart's desire

To have you in my arms is to be a perfect moment
Like a butterfly that lightly lands upon my hand then flutters from view
With your hand in mine we will learn to walk and walk away
Then when you look in to my eyes
I hope you realize
I was here
I am here
Because of you.