September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
We met a local family to hear their story and what message they wanted to send to other families to help them through difficult times.
“When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the whole family is diagnosed,” said Jen Markiewicz, mother.
For the Markiewicz family, their daughter Anna has been diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called meduloblastoma.
Anna was diagnosed at the age of 11 and was only weeks away from sixth grade.
“She had headaches for a short time and we were rushed alive to a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh. A few days after being in intensive care they had surgery and she recovered very well, but we knew we had a long way to go before chemotherapy and radiation, ”said Markiewicz.
Today Anna has been out of treatment for a year and a half and enjoys being 13 years old.
“She does wonders, you know. She plays basketball. She’s you know how to run and do all kinds of things, but it’s something that you have all the time, ”said Dave Markiewicz, Sr.
“Back in school, she plays hoops and does whatever she’s supposed to do,” Jen Markiewicz said.
One thing that helped Anna during the chemotherapy treatment were the headbands that were shown to her in the hospital.
The organization is called Headbands of Hope. This organization donates headbands to sick children.
“Those little hat tokens and things like that really help a kid get through cancer. Things like that bring their confidence back, ”Jen Markiewicz said.
When Anna was diagnosed, her family said the community had really come together to support them.
“Our priest from St. Luke went to visit Anna in the hospital. They kept sending him things to the hospital and things like that. Our son is going to Prep and the Key Club got together and took donations for gas cards to help get to Pittsburgh and things like that, ”said Dave Markiewicz.
The headband Anna wore was her original design which she submitted to Headbands of Hope. His entry got the first place.
For each purchase of a headband, another is given. To purchase one of these headbands, click here.
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