Camryn, our oldest daughter of two, was like any other happy, fun-loving little 7 year old girl. So when we started noticing some physical and emotional changes in her, our intuition told us something was not right. On January 10, 2012, her primary care physician ordered an MRI and our fears were confirmed. Camryn had 3 brain tumors and her spinal column was covered with multiple tiny tumors. Our lives instantly changed forever. Camryn was diagnosed with Primitive Neuro Ectodermal Tumor (PNET). This is a very rare type of brain cancer that affects 400 kids worldwide every year. Her chance of survival was only 20%. She was put on an experimental trial and for 14 months Camryn would fight this disease experiencing things that no child should ever have to and no parent should witness.
Through it all, our family was driven by a few guiding lights. Number one, Camryn had a 20% chance of survival. We never focused on the 80%. Secondly, we knew we had the best physicians and care possible. Finally, we came to realize that the community in Fort Wayne, Indiana and across the nation had our back. The outpouring of support was just unbelievable. This was the positive side of cancer. This is what gave us hope. One of the greatest things we learned is there are wonderful organizations out there for people going through what we went through. Whether they provide the actual care for the patient or provide a service to help the family get through the process, they are invaluable. Cancer treatment is far from perfect. It has lasting effects and changes the kids it treats. The only way to change that is through research and funding.
Our support network throughout our experience inspired us to take action and make our own difference in our community. Camryn is happily cancer-free and we are so thankful to be where we are in our lives today. Please join us in fighting for that hope for others. The Saal Family