Local toddler participates in Relay for Life
Smith, who began working in administration at Banner Lassen Medical Center shortly after Lily’s hopeful prognosis was announced, has used the entire experience as inspiration to become more involved in raising money for a cure.
Smith is the team captain for Banner Lassen’s Relay for Life team. The team’s theme is “strolling for a cure for childhood cancer,” an area that clearly Smith feels strongly about.
“I want to do everything I can to help raise money for a cure,” said Smith.
“Events like this are so important for awareness too,” she said.
Both Lily and her mother planned to participate in the survivor’s lap at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Lily was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer when she was only 6 months old, in September 2007.
During her well-baby checkup, Smith said the doctor found a lump in Lily’s kidney and thought she might be constipated.
Smith said she monitored the lump, but in two days it had grown rapidly, so she took Lily to the emergency room.
After an ultrasound, it was found the problem was not in the bowels, but in one of Emily’s kidneys.
The baby cells never formed into an actual kidney, said Smith, but instead remained as a cluster of embryonic cells.
Emily was found to have a Wilms' tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. A cancer that develops from immature kidney cells, it is the most common malignant tumor of the kidneys in children.
After going through 18 weeks of chemotherapy, countless trips to the University of California Davis Medical Center and Banner Lassen’s Infusion Center, Smith said Emily’s health is looking up.
“I was so happy when they told me she was cancer-free,” said Smith. “It was the best feeling in the world.”
Smith said she and Emily will go to UC Davis every three months for the next two years for checkups.
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