Angelina was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma on April 13, 2014. Her only symptom was stomach pain. After many trips to the doctor and ER, several x-rays, and weeks taking laxatives for what they thought to be chronic constipation, a tumor was found in her abdomen. The tumor was wrapped around her intestines and attached to her stomach. After 5 months of chemotherapy and radiation, the tumor was successfully removed and her prognosis was excellent. Although Angelina was thought to be cancer free, by March of 2015 a routine check caught 3 more tumors in her abdomen. These tumors were removed right away, and again, we thought her to be free of the cancer. Then in June, 9 tumors were discovered. At this point, the doctors told us that she could not have any more treatments of radiation and chemotherapy, and that there wasn’t much they could do without finding a trial. Angelina did then receive 1 trial medicine over the July 4 holiday weekend, but it did not effect the cancer. On July 30, 2015, Angelina lost her battle and died surrounded by family and friends.
Angelina always loved to help other kids. Before her cancer diagnosis she loved to volunteer at special events and loved to give to kids who were without or who were sick. From the very beginning of her battle with cancer, Angelina would ask to buy gifts for the other kids on her floor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Spending long periods of time in the hospital is not easy for any child or any parent or any of their siblings. One of our comforts during these long stays was music. We always knew how music could move us, but when going through something like a battle with cancer we found it to be not only comforting, but motivating. Music could get Angelina’s adrenaline going before a chemo treatment or procedure, she’d sing her fight song to get through being cooped up. We would sing together for fun, or her mom or step mother would sing her to sleep. Quite often we’d have a visit from one of CHOP’s music therapists and a boring day would become one of playing instruments, laughing, and interacting with each other in a whole new way!
This fund will provide grants to Children’s Hospitals for Music Therapy and to help grant specific wish items that are music related to children battling life threatening illnesses, while supporting pediatric cancer research as well.