Category Archives: CHAMPIONS

Andrew, 19 | Medulloblastoma

Andrew was born in March and adopted by his family in December of 1999. He was a happy, healthy little boy until his 4th birthday when it was discovered that he had a malignant brain tumor called medulloblastoma. He had a resection at Phoenix Children’s Hospital followed by radiation and 2 years of chemotherapy. His hospital stay lasted 2 months but finally he went home on an IV pump and a feeding tube. With the help of his family and many therapists, he was able to start swallowing again and was soon off the NG tube. After completing the chemo protocol, the tumor was in remission and his port was removed. However, a couple years later at a Andrew began having some drainage from his ears. A biopsy revealed that Andrew now had Langer-Hans Cell Histiocytosis in the bone behind his ears. A new Port-a-Cath was placed in his chest, and he began another 2 years of chemo treatments. After completing that, his port was removed. But once again 2 years later, it came back destroying areas of his skull. Andrew had a 3rd port, another 2 years of a different chemo plan and is now our hero as a 3rd time SURVIVOR!! And he has been cancer free for 4 years now! He is 19 and graduating from Gilbert High School this year. Andrew’s favorite hobby is fishing and going to camp. He uses a device and sign language to communicate with people. Though Andrew is non-verbal, he shares love, compassion and jokes with everyone he meets more than any person we have ever known. He is truly our HERO!!

Noah, 1 | Acute Myeloid Leukemia

In the final week of June (2018), our comfortable home life and our sense of security was ripped from us when our 7-month-old son, Noah Mitchell was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The rippling effect this diagnosis had was unbelievable and has proved to be a serious challenge for us all.

The fight little Noah is up against is a large one, and he has only begun on this long journey to a normal life. In the short term, he’s had nine bone biopsies, several blood transfusions, and now has an IV line direct to his heart to pump chemotherapy, blood, and fluids. He will be in and out of the hospital for the next several months as his condition progresses and the treatment continues.

We ask for your help to celebrate Noah and his incredible strength and courageousness in his fight for his life against cancer, as it will be a long and tiresome one and he will need help.

Sammy, Forever 6 Years Old | Medulloblastoma

Sammy was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, pediatric brain cancer, on October 19, 2016. That day started like any other day of a 4-year-old in preschool. But that day changed our lives forever. He spent the next 246 days inpatient at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Surgeries, chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, and rehabilitation. All in hopes our child would survive.

He was discharged on June 22, 2017. He came home a different child. Now in a wheelchair, on a feeding tube, in need of lots of support to conquer everyday life. He suffered posterior fossa syndrome, a side effect of his craniotomy. He suffered a hearing loss, a side effect of chemotherapy. Our child was no longer the child who walked in the hospital 246 days prior. But he was home.

10 weeks after he was discharged, with clear scans free of cancer, we learned his cancer was back. And Sammy was diagnosed as terminal. He had new growths in brain, and in spine. At 5 years old, we were told our child had no cure, no hope, no chance to survive.

We hit pause. Took our family to Disneyland, before we made any decisions for what was next. Then back to reality of our nightmare of childhood cancer. We took every day, five minutes at a time. We opted for radiation. Our best chance at giving him quality of life and giving us time.

We spent the next 6 months living life as best we could. Making memories. Hoping. Praying. That he could beat the odds. We did palliative chemotherapy in hopes to slow things down, and planned to stop, if quality of life declined.

Sadly, in March he suffered complications from hydrocephalus. Negative pressure hydrocephalus, that was unable to be controlled. We made the decision to place Sammy on hospice care and stop all treatment. On April 12, 2018, at 6 years old, Sammy took his last breath and went into the arms of Jesus.

Bridger, Forever 14 Months Old | Rhabdoid Sarcoma (MRT)

Bridger “Bear” Joseph Giguere was born as an IVF miracle baby on March 29, 2018. He had beautiful ginger red hair and piercing blue eyes. He was strong from his first breath, weighing in at almost 10 pounds and holding his head up independently from day one. At just 6 months old, Bridger was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage 4 Rhabdoid Sarcoma (MRT) of his left kidney and lungs. Bridger endured 8 grueling rounds of chemotherapy, as well as 14 radiation treatments to half of his body and over 100 days as a patient at PCH. He was declared NED in February of 2018, but sadly relapsed on June 8 and gained his angel wings just 11 days later. Bridger was nothing short of “extraterrestrial”…he always carried a certain magic about him, a special light which brought smiles everywhere. Even in the trenches of treatment and at the end of his life, Bridger was never defeated. He was never sad. He laughed his belly laugh, giggled at bubbles, loved his Sissy and riding his Y bike, and fell asleep every night to his Mom or Dad’s snuggles. Bridger captured hearts across the world and will forever be missed, but will never be forgotten. Be strong and courageous, just like our “Bear”…

We wish so much you could have met our son, he was truly a hero, just like all of the CHAMPION kids.

Ashley | Diagnosed with Brain Cancer at age 11 | Celebrated New Year’s Eve in Heaven on December 31, 2012

Ashley has changed our lives so deeply and was the most cheerful, loving daughter who had to endure more than any child should ever face.

Five days before my sweet daughter went to heaven, I made a promise to Ashley to start a nonprofit organization (Cancer Response Team) to help as many children as possible with cancer, needing financial assistance to pursue integrative and/or alternative treatments.

Ashley has changed many people’s lives and has been an inspiration to so many of us. We thank God for each day that we had her as a gift on this Earth.

Please visit Cancer Response Team Booth at the CHAMP Event.
We are excited to join CHAMP to become one, as we fight childhood cancer together!

-Ashley’s Dad

Sammy, Forever Age 6 | Neuroblastoma

Sammy loved Legos and was officially a master builder completing expert level creations in a few hours. He loved Star Wars especially the Storm Troopers. He loved to cook with his family and watched food network often, he fancied himself a budding food critic. Sammy enjoyed traveling and we used these adventures often to escape the realities of disease and treatment. Most of all Sammy loved to spend time with his family.

Throughout Sammy’s treatment and battle against cancer he was able to enjoy the support provided by children’s cancer charities. We attended many events and he and his sister got toys or gifts. These incentives helped to soften the pain felt by nightly shots or the frustration from one more week in the hospital.
We continue to be amazed by the doctors and medical staff that dedicate their lives to helping save children like Sammy. We have no doubt that they will continue the fight to cure childhood cancer so that one day there will only be survivors.

Your participation in this 5k makes a difference. The funds raised help families like ours. Spreading awareness about childhood cancer and the need for funding is incredibly important. We thank you for your dedication and support.

We miss you Sammy!

Lily, 4 | Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Lily Victoria Taylor was born on March 17, 2014 (St. Patty’s Day) and very quickly won the hearts of all of those she encountered. Even before she could speak her huge smile and voracious laughter both entertained and melted the hearts of friends and family members. Lily’s love for life is evident today as she is ALWAYS on the move. Her constant chatter and song writing brighten everyone’s day around her. On December 19, 2017 Lily was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.. She was only three years old at the time getting ready to celebrate her first real Christmas with her loved ones. She spent the first month and a half of treatment in patient fighting off a severe fungal ear infection which lead her to 60% loss of hearing in one ear. Today Lily is on the path to recovery completing her last major treatment September 21, 2018 and will be entering her two year maintenance program shortly. Lily has maintained her positive and vibrant spirit throughout the entire treatment process. She continues to dance, sing, and race her way through the hospital halls and is known at Cardon’s as Super Lily. If you can catch up with her she’ll tell you she loves unicorns, waffles, and “C” shaped mac and cheese. If visiting the pediatric oncology floor please be advised she may be seen riding a tricycle at full speed with one of her parents pushing an IV pump feverishly behind her.

Emmit | Stage 4 Neuroblastoma November 7th 2017, he was 1 ½.

This cancer diagnosis was very devastating to our family. Our whole world crushed before us and we didn’t now how to fix it. The doctors at Cardon Children’s Medical Center didn’t think Emmit would make it because of the severity of his illness and how far the cancer spread when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma on November 7, 2017 when he was 1 1/2. Emmit proved everyone wrong! He went through 5 months of chemotherapy, 6 surgeries (so far) , and 2 transplants. Like a champ he gives me strength every day. Emmit still has a year and a half of treatment to go, but it will be years to get him where he needs to be. Most of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell he was sick. He is definitely a fighter.

Rio, 9 | Wilm’s Tumor

Rio was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor on her kidney when she was young. She is now 5 years cancer free! When Rio grows up she wants to be a doctor and help find a cure for childhood cancer. If she could teleport anywhere she would go to Peru to see her family. Her advice to others is to “Never give up!”

Victoria, 6 | Neuroblastoma

Victoria was diagnosed with stage 2 Neuroblastoma at 6 months old with a tumor on the right side of her neck. After one unsuccessful attempt to try to remove she underwent chemotherapy for 3 months. A second surgery was done in June of 2012 where the tumor was successfully removed. At that time, it was possible she would either lose mobility to her arm or her vocal chords would be damaged. A year later we found the surgery had been damaged and her right lung diaphragm had been paralyzed. She had a surgery to permanently hold the diaphragm closed.
Today she is 6 years in remission, and has just started 1st grade. In the years of remission, she’s done a range of activities; Swimming, gymnastics, Muay Thai, Judo and Jiu Jitsu. For the past 3 years, for her birthday her one wish is to be a part of this race. And finally, this year it lands on her birthday and she couldn’t be happier.
Thank you for organizing such a wonderful event!