Emilie is our amazing 10 year-old girl and best friend to her big brother, Alex. She began to have headaches over the summer while swimming and we eventually made our way to a neurologist who ordered an MRI. On September 9th, 2016, she had her MRI and within an hour we got the results no parent should ever get and immediately headed up to University Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana. Emilie had a rare brain tumor called a DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). We quickly learned that pediatric brain tumors are now the #1 cancer killers of kids and DIPGs are the worst. 50% of children with DIPGs do not make it 9-12 months past diagnosis. Within days she underwent surgery for a biopsy, spent a week in the PICU and then spent 7 weeks at St. Jude in Memphis. After incredible care at Le Bonheur and St. Jude in Memphis, Emilie's tumor shrank more than 50%. She then spent six months traveling every three weeks for treatment at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, followed by treatment at home and one month at Texas Children’s Hospital. Emilie’s fight came to an end at home on Halloween night surrounded by family and friends.
Regardless that her journey was cut short on this planet, her crazy hats helped ease hospital woes, her sparkly rainbow unicorn-loving sense of style established her independent free spirit, and her ability to fight was reinforced through her competitive love for swimming and games of all sorts. When asked what was her favorite thing to do, she said dancing, and never had any qualms about spontaneously bursting out in dance or song wherever she was. Every situation had a theme song, and her dry wit spread smiles and laughter to all.