There are few that would disagree with the statement cancer sucks, but for a Utah family who is battling cancer for the third time, cancer is even more devastating. Chrissy Turner, an 8-year-old from Centerville, Utah, discovered a lump in her chest earlier in November and was initially terrified to tell her mother, Annette, who battled cervical cancer before. The youngster was diagnosed with the rare breast cancer secretory carcinoma on November 9.
In addition to Chrissy’s rare breast cancer and Annette’s prior battle with cervical cancer, her husband, Troy, a Desert Storm veteran, is also struggling with a relapse of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Chrissy’s doctor had initially reassured her worried mother that the child’s lump was likely benign, only to be stunned to realize that she had a rare breast cancer instead.
Chrissy’s physician, Dr. Brian Bucher, said that the rare breast cancer is truly shocking because few doctors have seen an instance of secretory carcinoma in a patient as young as 8. In addition, most patients with this form of cancer are in their teens, with the cancer accounting for 0.15 percent of all cases of breast cancer, according to Time.
In spite of the rare breast cancer diagnosis, Chrissy and her parents are confident that the outcome will be positive. That is not to say the youngster is not sometimes overwhelmed by the seriousness of her condition, Today reports.
Annette said, “She is a bright, witty, young lady and I think she gets it,” adding that Chrissy has been coping by keeping busy and playing, but she will sometimes cry in her quieter moments about her rare breast cancer diagnosis.
Medical bills, however, have been piling up. At one point during Annette’s and Troy’s joint battle with their own individual cancers, the family declared bankruptcy. With Chrissy now struggling with her own cancer diagnosis, Annette’s best friend Melissa Papaj set up a GoFundMe page for the family. Papaj’s daughter Hailie is Chrissy’s age.
Papaj said that she was stunned by the overwhelming response the page has received; to this point, the page has raised almost $60,000 in just nine days.
“I had 364 emails when I got home yesterday,” she said. “One donor from England gave $1,000. Another lady yesterday donated $18. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had just lost her house, but she felt Chrissy needed the money more than her.”
Chrissy is tentatively scheduled for a simple mastectomy in early December, where any remaining breast tissue is going to be removed. Annette is grateful for the support that she and her family have received thus far since Chrissy’s diagnosis of the rare breast cancer secretory carcinoma.
“When I sit across the table and see my husband and daughters smiling and laughing and enjoying the day, I know there is the flood of angels out there wanting to do so much to lift my daughter up and support her healing,” Annette said of her experience dealing with her family’s cancer battle.
Funds raised through the GoFundMe page are designed to offset any expenses involved with the surgery, in addition to the costs of bloodwork and screening that Chrissy will have to go through for the next several years, according to Today. Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that the family not only has to deal with the costs involved with Chrissy’s rare breast cancer but with the costs associated with Troy’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment as well, although in Troy’s case, his cancer is growing so slowly that doctors continue to maintain a pattern of “watch-and-wait” as they monitor him every three months.
Chrissy told ABC TV, according to Time, that she was optimistic about treating her rare breast cancer although the thought of cancer was frightening.
“I was scared to figure out what it was,” she said of her rare breast cancer. “But I knew I could fight it off and I hope that I can fight it off.”
[Image via GoFundMe/ABC News via 9News.com.au]