Alexis loves games, swimming, and softball. She is a huge fan of the Cubs and Taylor Swift. Alexis was diagnosed with ALL when she was six years old. She endured several surgeries, lots of chemo, and even some rare side effects, but she kept a smile on her and her doctor and nurses’ faces. Alexis is truly a fighter and hero. She loved the hospital, so much so, that she wanted to go there for her Make-a-Wish trip. The nurses are so caring with plenty of hugs and words of encouragement. The doctors developed a strong relationship with her family and provided them with clear and concise information. The play room and garden were amazing for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the hospital life. Alexis’ family can’t say enough about the facilities and staff at Siteman Kids!
Ariana loves her friends, singing, kickball, and her phone. She is a huge fan of Tasha Cobbs and other Gospel singers. Ariana was diagnosed with grade 4 Medulloblastoma in April of 2014. She completed treatment in July of 2015. She does have ongoing manageable health issues from treatment, but is an awesome 12 year old. Ariana and her family are just embracing normal, whatever that may be. Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is amazing and they are honored to be a part of helping a place that saved Ariana’s life. Being a part of the family that is riding towards a world without cancer is a blessing.
Brinkley loves reading, playing volleyball, and spending time with family and friends. Brinkley was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in August 2016 at the age of 12. She immediately began treatment at Children’s Hospital. Brinkley and her family look forward to its completion potentially in early 2019. Brinkley has spent many days and nights inpatient at Children’s due to both scheduled treatments and also infections. Her family is thankful for excellent care by the best nurses, doctors, and so many others at Children’s.
Brinkley has navigated this diagnosis with a very positive and determined spirit and feels blessed to have met so many kind and encouraging people along the way. She also enjoyed being back at school for her 8th grader year after missing 7th grade and spending time around her friends. Brinkley had a blast at Pedal the Cause in 2017; she loved the food and is determined to finish the 10 miles this year!
Bryor loves playing outside and going swimming. He is a huge fan of the Cardinals. What the family thought was going to be an uneventful new year turned out to be completely different; Bryor was diagnosed with leukemia on January 1, 2016. Bryor’s heart rate was beating so fast and his belly was hard as a rock. His parents rushed him to their little hospital to find out what was going on. The doctor finally came in after having labs drawn and an x-ray to find out what no parent ever wants to hear, “Your child has cancer. I believe it is leukemia. I would like to transfer you for further testing.” In that moment Bryor’s parents felt their hearts crumble. Bryor’s mom remembers calling her mom, saying she couldn’t handle all of this, that she was a child herself. Her mom told her to take a deep breath and listen to her heart – that she knew what was best for her son. Once the family was transferred to Children’s E.R. they met with multiple doctors. Bryor’s white blood cell was so high that it would not register on the machine; it took three times for them to run it before they could get a reading. He had to be in PICU for a few days until he was stable. Bryor had to have two blood transfusions and a platelet transfusion. Once he was stable enough, they moved Bryor and his family to the 9th floor, where they met their second family.
Bryor and his family have definitely been on one crazy roller coaster – from spending 28 days in the NICU when he was born to spending 43 days in Children’s hospital when he was first diagnosed. One thing is for sure, they have had some wonderful nurses who have made the ride a little less bumpy. Bryor and his family love being a part of Pedal the Cause to give back to the nurses and doctors who have helped them through their journey. They have shown Bryor and his family nothing but love and support; they help in every way they can. Bryor and his family spent the first 9 months of treatment basically living at the hospital, and it has become what Bryor calls his second home/nurses’ house. He feels so comfortable with them; they are truly like his second family.
Colin loves hockey, golf, and computer/Xbox Games. He is a huge fan of the St. Louis Blues.
Colin was diagnosed in June 2014 with type 4 brain cancer, Medullablastoma. He underwent a full tumor resection surgery just days later and then underwent extensive radiation and chemotherapy through August 2015. Colin is currently NED, no evidence of disease, and receives regular MRI scans for follow up. Colin is currently battling through treatment side effects, but continues to fight back to his pre-cancer self. Colin and his family have been part of Pedal the Cause since 2015 when Colin was selected as Team Captain of the St Louis Childrens Hospital Team and also a Featured Fighter and in 2016 and 2017 on Team St Louis Blues – Can’t Stop Colin. Colin and his family are greatly impacted by his diagnosis and gained many friendships through this experience and Pedal the Cause. Colin has always understood the impact he can make and how important it is to spread the word about pediatric cancer and Pedal the Cause to raise funds for cancer research. Even more, Colin’s close friend, Brett, just passed away a few months ago which greatly impacted Colin losing a close friend to brain cancer. It was not only losing a good friend, but more awareness his own outcome is still not 100% and research is needed.
Colin and his family think Pedal the Cause is one of the best events to raise funds for cancer research, keeping the money here in St Louis. Children’s saved Colin’s life and from day 1, they had a good experience. His family would always recommend Children’s and feels very grateful they live here, so close to Children’s Hospital.
DANCE is Elizabeth’s PASSION, but she also loves to read, listen to music, Theater, Run, Art, 4-H, Pageants, Shopping, Family/Friends, Board games, Catholic/Religion, Community Service, horseback riding and ADVOCATE for Childhood Cancer. Elizabeth is a huge fan of Misty Copeland (Principal Dancer American Ballet Theater), St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, Wooden Shoes (hometown team), and Rachel Platten/Megan Trainor.
Elizabeth was given the initial diagnosis of cancer 10 days after her 12th birthday in January of 2016, but her “journey” started long before that when she began experiencing hip pain and was given the original diagnosis of Iliac Apothycitis (common with athletes). When her hip flared again during dance class and the pain steadily grew worse, she was referred to a specialist in St. Louis who had a dance background and specifically worked with kids. Less than two hours after Elizabeth’s MRI, the family got the call no parent wants to hear “The change in bone formation is indicative of cancer“! The world suddenly felt like it was caving in… Everything that they thought, knew and loved had been ripped out from under them. Trying to support all four children dealing with this in different ways has been at times almost unbearable! Although at times it has been both emotionally and financially traumatic to the family, they are trying to remain strong, focused and determined.
Elizabeth has undergone over 75 Chemo treatments, a resection of her tumor (estimated to be the size of a softball), a Bone Marrow Transplant, multiple blood and platelet transfusions, 20 rounds of radiation and 6 months of Immunotherapy! She spent the better part of 2016 in the hospital or at home on “house arrest” due to the treatments she received, including a scary moment where Elizabeth was airlifted back to St. Louis and put in the ICU for several days due in part to sepsis.
Elizabeth spent her 7th grade school year attending school via “Google Hangouts” with her district. She’s maintained HIGH HONORS every quarter except one…and even then it was still honors despite the learning challenges she has due to treatments given! Though Elizabeth’s overall physical stamina has been greatly reduced compared to the athlete she once was, she finished every track race she ran and enjoyed being a part of the cheerleading team as well! To say the family is incredibly proud of all that she has accomplished despite what “the cancer” has affected doesn’t give it justice! Elizabeth amazes those around her with her tenacity and attitude of “CAN DO”.
Her family learned the hard lessons of Neuroblastoma in May of 2017 that Elizabeth still has refractory disease in her bone marrow (difficult to clear). This was difficult to hear, but not surprising due to many factors they’ve known since the beginning. They have been told of increasing lesion activity, but at this time other than a regimen of homeopathic and prophylactic medicines to maintain health/strength along with a few required meds, she refuses to do any additional treatments that could further compromise her health. Elizabeth also battles daily the effects of the toxic treatments on her body including heart/lung/bones/hearing. What the future holds is hard to say – the chances for Elizabeth to successfully beat this are challenging, but the family remains hopeful that she will be one of the lucky few!
Elizabeth has goals for the 2018 summer which include dance lessons, running for Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen with her platform “Crowns Against Cancer”, projects at the County Fair, competing in the Effingham County Talent Show and attempting to train for Pedal the Cause. She would like to bike in September bringing further awareness to the cause. Elizabeth will also be part of a NATIONAL docu series that will be released later in the year titled “I Promise…” with My Truth in 365 and plans to dance and speak at CureFest in Washington D.C. in mid-September. Elizabeth is an articulate, passionate, and extremely intelligent ambassador for childhood cancer awareness.
As a family, they have experienced the highest of highs and some really deep valley lows, but they are determined to not let cancer get the best of them. In Elizabeth’s words, “No matter what happens to me physically, cancer will not beat me…it can’t take the last impact I hope to leave as I lay the foundation for those yet diagnosed. Because of me, someone won’t have to suffer as much as I have…
Ellen loves camping, painting & drawing, baking, puzzles, and playing games. She is a huge fan of Rosanna Pansino (YouTuber). Ellen was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma in September 2016 after a long few months of doctor appointments and tests to figure out why she had started losing weight and vomiting every day. Once diagnosed, she underwent 2 surgeries to remove the tumor, 30 radiation scans, and 9 rounds of chemo. She rang her end of treatment bell November 2017. Ellen and her family have been impacted greatly and have been spending time getting used to their new normal. Ellen is back to school and doing great, excited to be starting middle school next year. St. Louis Children’s Hospital will forever hold a special place in their hearts. They feel so fortunate to have such a great place so close! The doctors, nurses, Child Life team, social workers, and everyone else has been truly amazing, helping Ellen and her family through the toughest thing they’ve ever gone through.
Evan loves being with people and talking to them. He enjoys Apples to Apples card collecting and Disney Cars movies. He is a huge fan of the St. Louis Blues, StL Cardinals, Kenny Chesney, and Lightning McQueen.
Evan was diagnosed in early March of 2017 after a fall while playing in the park. It was a whirlwind few days that eventually brought Evan and his family to SLCH’s Oncology floor, where he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Evan’s special needs and other health conditions kept the family living there most days for the next 8 months. This completely changed their lives at home; they were no longer living as a family. One parent stayed with Evan, while the other stayed at home with their other son. They switched these roles constantly. Evan was the strongest fighter of the family; throughout the sickness of chemo, its nasty effects, and tumor surgery, he continued to bring joy to everyone around him. In late August Evan had a cardiac arrest. CPR was administered for 18 minutes. His family is so thankful they never gave up. The amazing 9th floor team and the emergency group that came in brought Evan back to them. Chemo was halted after this. Now the family waits and watches for what Evan’s life holds. In the meantime, Evan continues to bring joy wherever he goes. He makes everyone his friend and cares more about the day of others than what is going on in his life.
Evan and his family are excited to be a part of Pedal the Cause to support the very people who supported their family for the past year. Evan and his family love the people at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Gabe loves Legos, playing outside, racing BMX, and making YouTube videos. He is a huge fan of Imagine Dragons and Five Nights at Freddy’s. Gabe was diagnosed January 4, 2018 and had a laminectomy the following day after being flown to Children’s. A follow-up MRI showed more growth, so he had an angiogram to block an artery surrounded by the tumor on February 27 and a suboccipital craniotomy on February 28. His neck was too unstable due to the amount of bone removed, so he had a cervical occipital fusion on March 6. Gabe spent eight days in the hospital the first time, two weeks the second time, and is currently undergoing 31 rounds of IMRT radiation. His brother and sister are staying with their grandparents at home in Springfield, so the family is 200 miles apart. His family just keeps looking to the future. Gabe hasn’t stopped smiling and being positive through it all. He hopes to get back on his bike when this is all over and make YouTube videos when he’s older. Gabe is an inspiration to so many people. The future holds great things for him. Gabe and his family would like to help raise money for continuing research to help others.
Gabriella loves art, gymnastics, softball, and volleyball. She is a huge fan of Simone Biles and James Charles. Gabriella noticed a bump on her neck right after Halloween, and she was diagnosed with NUT midline carcinoma, a rare and very aggressive form of cancer in mid-December. She had the tumor and her salivary gland removed on December 28, 2017. She finished her 33 radiation treatments on April 2 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which will occur every three weeks until November. Her family is amazed every single day at how she is handling the situation. Although it is extremely rough on her, she vocalizes her needs and wants to the hospital staff and to her family, which has helped so much with caring for her on a daily basis.
Gabriella’s diagnosis and treatments have affected her entire family. She has to be hospitalized during her 3-5 days of chemotherapy, which results in a hospital stay of 4-6 days. Obviously, she doesn’t want to be there, and the chemotherapy makes her very weak. Gabriella’s mom stays with her during the hospitalization, while her dad who works long hours takes care of their 11 year old son, 3 cats and dog. This is by far the most difficult thing the family has ever been through. They rely on each other and their community to help get through it.
Gabriella’s future looks good as long as the treatments ensure the cancer is completely gone. She has many dreams of being a gymnast, a lawyer, helping people find dogs for pets, and many more. She is intelligent, outgoing, and strong, and her family looks forward to her fulfilling her dreams, whatever they may be.
It is an honor for Gabriella to be chosen to be part of the Ride for a Child program with Pedal the Cause.
Gavin is an 11-year-old boy who lives in the St Louis, MO area. He enjoys playing hockey and video games. His favorite meal is a hamburger with fries. In April of 2018, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in his 10th right rib. Ewing’s is a rare cancer – like 4 people in a million rare. A remarkable attribute about Gavin is even when he is going through a thing like cancer…he still wants to encourage others. For example, he loves relaying puns and making jokes with the nurses, doctors, and hospital staff personnel. One of his greatest gifts is bringing smiles to the many faces that come into his world. Gavin is an incredibly strong, loving young man.
Jacob loves video games, riding his bike, and art. He is a huge fan of Bruno Mars and Teen Titans. After a playful wrestling match with his sister, Jacob was thought to have suffered a hairline fracture of his bone –something he had experienced in the past. Jacob was taken to a local Emergency Room where X-Rays were taken. After many obstacles, the family finally was given a diagnosis –Jacob had a tumor on his bone and was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. The family is so grateful to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and is happy to share that Jacob has been in remission since November 2016 and had surgery in April 2017 to remove his port. Throughout everything, Jacob was blessed to maintain a straight A Honor Roll! His family is so proud of Jacob.
Kailey loves to sing, dance and read books. She also loves to swing on her swing set at home. Her favorite characters are Cinderella, Calliou and Olivia the Pig. When Kailey was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a stage 4 Brain Tumor. She has undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and two brain surgeries at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Kailey is now 4 years old, and her tumor still remains. She currently is on a new clinical trial and doing very well. She continues as always to fight with a smile and spunky attitude. Unfortunately Kailey has lost most of her vision due to her tumor. She is learning to walk with a white cane and is learning braille in preschool. Even though Kailey has faced many challenges, she is always happy and smiling. She is the life of the party, loves talking to people and doesn’t know a stranger. Cancer can be a lonely thing for a family, but the smiling and familiar faces at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital have helped Kailey and her family feel not so alone. After participating in Ride for a Child in 2017, they are excited to be a part of it again this year.
Kiersten loves arts and crafts. She is a huge fan of Pentatonix. Kiersten was diagnosed the beginning of February; she spent two weeks in the hospital and had three surgeries. This has been an adjustment to everyone because of her restrictions and the amount of time that is spent up in St. Louis. At first this was really hard for the family, but finding out after her first evaluation that she is improving has been a blessing. Kiersten has her moments, but she is very brave. Kiersten and her family face every day looking for the good and laughing. They are very hopeful that Kiersten will be cured with little lasting effects and damage. Kiersten and her family are grateful to the amazing care they have received at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Krystabelle loves to read, swim and play volleyball. She is a huge fan of One Direction and Toby Mac. Kbelle was diagnosed back in 2011. She was so strong willed that she was determined to beat her cancer. Since then she hasn’t let anything stop her. If Kbelle puts her mind to it, she goes for it. She is the smallest player on her volleyball team. Kbelle wanted to serve but her coach wouldn’t let her, so she started practicing her serves, got better and showed her coach she could do it. As a family they spend more time together and push each other to always live life to the fullest. Kbelle had some of the best care at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She still does. They still see Kbelle once a year now. Kbelle and her family has taken part in Pedal the Cause Ride for a Child for 6 years now and believe whole heartedly in what Pedal is doing – making the world cancer free.
Lenore loves Arts and Crafts, reading, and swimming. She is a huge fan of Harry Potter, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Percy Jackson. Lenore was diagnosed after she began to have trouble walking and standing. An enormous tumor was found within her spinal tissue. While the tumor was successfully removed, the damage to her nervous system could not be reversed. Among the other devastating effects of the cancer, she lost the ability to walk and stand, and partial use of her left hand. She fought hard and finished chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital, and has proven her strength and resilience time and again by taking every challenge head on. Lenore is a positive, joyful child, and hopes to inspire those around her with her spirit. Her parents hope her future involves a world without cancer, and a life of purpose and happiness. They know Pedal will be a part of that purpose and feel so fortunate to have St. Louis Children’s Hospital so close to home.
Luca loves Legos, riding his bike, soccer, baseball, being outside and playing with friends. He is a huge fan of the Blues, Cardinals, country and KidsBop music. After meeting him, people always say “What a cool kid!” Luca was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the age of 7 on December 12, 2016 and will continue treatment until April 2020. When he was diagnosed, his parents had no clue his diagnosis would affect everything. They have a great village that has helped and continues to support them in many ways. Luca takes steroids monthly and continually asks when he can stop having medicine. He is starting to understand the effects of his medications and sometimes cries due to frustration.
Luca’s family believes they were dealt this for a reason and strongly believe in paying it forward. Luca is an Honored Hero for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hiking team, and they hope he inspires them to raise money and get through the long hike. Luca’s family has also formed the Luca Foundation to help with the educational needs of kids with cancer. Luca loves to ride his bike. At PTC last year, his family had to pull Luca off the route because he was pale and felt sick, but he persevered through it all. Teri came over to talk to Luca and asked if he would like Powered by Hope to ride for him next year. His face lit up, and he has been asking for a month when PTC is! Luca loves being involved in activities and socializing with people. His family hopes his story continues to inspire children and adults on Team Powered by Hope.
Matthew is a huge fan of all the Marvel and DC Heroes. Matthew was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July of 2017. He underwent a nine hour surgery to have it removed and developed Posterior Fossa Syndrome. He is currently in therapy three days a week for speech, physical, and occupational therapy to gain back control of his motor skills. Matthew has had 30 treatments of radiation and has had 5 of his 9 treatments of chemo. With what Matthew is going through, he and his family have had to definitely create a new normal, but seeing him getting stronger each day, they know he has a big, bright future ahead of him.
Children’s has some of the best staff the family has ever encountered. They make sure you’re knowledgeable, and they connect you to lots of resources to help you through your hardship. Matthew and his family are excited to be a part of Pedal the Cause not only because it raises money for the cause, but it lets families know they are not alone.
Miles loves playing outside, and he is a huge fan of Superman. Miles was diagnosed in April of 2016. He had gotten an ear infection that would not clear up with three different medicines, so they decided to do blood work and discovered his labs were abnormal. His family was sent to Children’s that very same day. The next day he had a bone marrow biopsy, and it was confirmed that he had ALL. It was very devastating; their lives forever changed that day. Miles has an older brother and an identical twin, and this really put some stress on them because they couldn’t understand what was going on with him, why he was at the hospital so long, and why he has to stay at the hospital sometimes when he gets sick. Miles and his family just try to stay very positive and live a normal life as much as possible, which isn’t always easy. Miles will be done with treatment in August of 2019, and they are very hopeful that everything will go as planned. Miles and his family are so excited to be a part of a great charity like Pedal the Cause. It means so much to Miles’ family that 100% of participant-raised donations fund innovative research because a cure needs to be found.
Mitchell loves drama, theatre, and music. He is a huge fan of Adele. Mitchell is part of a family of 6, and he is the oldest. His siblings are 15, 13, and 6 years old. Mitchell was diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma in December 2017. He is currently in the local control portion of his treatment. Mitchell is working hard at fighting this disease. His tight knit family is doing their best to get him through this. They are always looking for something to keep their spirits up and spend quality time together. Even though Mitchell’s diagnosis has been tough and scary, they know they are receiving the best care at Siteman Kids. Mitchell and his family love and pray for Siteman’s staff always. They continually feel educated, supported, and confident that Mitchell is receiving the best care possible here at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Stephen loves soccer, reading, and hockey. He is a huge fan of the St Louis Blues. Stephen was diagnosed on January 27, 2014. He battled cancer for 7 months between chemo and radiation. It was very hard on him. He’s very active and was down and out a lot. After remission, Stephen has decided to become a nurse and work in pediatric cancer. He’s in his third year of college and working his way to a nursing degree. Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Siteman Cancer Center were wonderful for Stephen. He wouldn’t have been as well off under the circumstances with any other place. Stephen and his family had a great team at both places and even though it was rough, they look to those places fondly.
Tony loves golfing, swimming, hunting, fishing, basketball, nerf guns and archery. He is a huge fan of Michael Jordan. Tony was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on 6/22/15. He has always had a positive attitude and has kept it through the last three years. Tony is officially finished with treatment on September 4, 2018. As a family with cancer, it makes them appreciate every good day, and they live life to its fullest. Tony and his family have had nothing but great experiences at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The doctors and nurses have been nothing but top notch. It was an honor for Tony to join such a great event.