“Pray about everything and worry about nothing!”- McNair Family

Growing pains are normal for kids to experience, but the pains that eight-year-old Jaturi had in her leg were very different. She was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed on February 7th, 2019 with Rhabdomyosarcoma. Her mom remembers when Jaturi was diagnosed, she wondered how she was going to break the tragic news to her. Jaturi and her family live in Ocala, where there are no children’s hospitals, so they make the trek every week to Orlando for treatment. Jaturi’s treatment plan includes 54 weeks of chemotherapy with three weeks of radiation included throughout. In addition, on May 29th, Jaturi underwent open heart surgery to remove a tumor from the mask of her heart. This surgery was a great success! She also has a surgery coming up to remove the tumor from her leg. As is commonly known, one of the side effects with chemotherapy is hair loss. Jaturi had a tough time when she first started losing her hair. She wouldn’t even look at herself in the mirror. Her mom, family, and friends bought her every hat to try to help her cope with the loss of her hair. Now, Jaturi is proudly rocking her bald head and she loves to wear big bows, instead of hats!

When Jaturi gets older, she wants to become a pediatric oncology nurse. Jaturi’s family has learned to appreciate every moment that they spend together, because these moments are special and they cannot be replaced. Jaturi’s mom has advice to those out there who are just starting a new journey with childhood cancer; She suggests “taking things one day at a time and to try not to stress because it won’t take your pain away”. Jaturi’s mom knows her kids are watching her for guidance and they are feeding off of her strength. She does her best to pray and remain strong for her family.

Jaturi’s cancer diagnosis changed her life and the lives of those in her family. She has not been able to attend school since her diagnosis or ride her bike. She cannot play on her hover board either, because she runs the risk of breaking the bone in her leg, which was made fragile with the tumor. Even though their lives have changed, Jaturi and her family have not lost their positive attitudes. Jaturi has kept her bubbly, loving, and kind spirit. She has four sisters, one of whom is her twin, and her mom who are all very supportive of her in this journey. Her role model is her Uncle Jack. He has not left the family’s side since her diagnosis and has attended all of her appointments. Before Jaturi’s mom became comfortable driving to Orlando, he would drive from Orlando to Ocala to pick up Jaturi and her mom and then drive them back to Orlando for her appointments.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of sarcoma, which is cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. Rhabdomyosarcoma usually begins in muscles that are attached to bones and that help the body move. Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children. Approximately 3% of all childhood cancers are Rhabdomyosarcomas. About 400 to 500 new cases of rhabdomyosarcoma occur each year in the United States.

Through your generous donations, Runway to Hope was honored to be able to help fund the renovations for the Hematology & Oncology floor at AdventHealth for Children. Jaturi and her family were able to benefit from many of these renovations while they were inpatient. Jaturi has a large family and the bigger rooms on the floor were able to accommodate family visits and provide family centered care. During these renovations, a washer and dryer were installed on the unit. Jaturi’s mom commented that the washer and dryer helped keep the families from going home with dirty laundry, which is especially important since kids often get sick during chemotherapy. A bigger playroom on the unit gives Jaturi and her sisters a place to play and keeps them from getting bored since Jaturi isn’t usually allowed to leave the unit. Jaturi’s family is thankful for the time that they were able to share at Runway to Hope’s Spring Fashion Soiree as it gave the family the chance to meet other kids and families experiencing the same journey and also gave them a night full of memories!

Runway to Hope / 189 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1800 / Orlando, FL 32801 / 407.802.1544