On December 18th, 2017, Emaline was diagnosed with an anaplastic neurological tumor when she was just two months old. Her mom, Katie, says the first months after diagnosis were extremely tough. Emaline, who also goes by Emmi, went through four rounds of chemotherapy as her initial treatment plan and was stable for over a year. At the end of 2019, she began to have some health issues and her medical team discovered that she had an optic nerve glioma. Emaline is two and a half years old now and receives chemotherapy through her port every week, once a week. Her tumors have all been malignant so far, but she is so strong and continues to fight every day.

Emmi’s favorite color is blue. Her mom says they are not quite sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but she loves her dog, her bunnies, and of course, everything that is Disney’s Frozen and Moana. Katie’s advice for families that are inpatient and on a pediatric cancer journey, is to build relationships with the nurses, child-life, social workers, and hospital personnel because they will become your best friends. Talking about things other than cancer and the hospital was so important and a big blessing in taking a break from treatment. Katie also says that getting to know other cancer families that can relate to this journey has been a huge help.

Emmi’s initial diagnosis was an anaplastic neurological tumor, which is a rare malignant brain tumor. Astrocytomas are tumors that develop from certain star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. Astrocytes and similar cells form tissues that surround and protect other nerve cells found within the brain and spinal cord. An optic nerve glioma is a slow growing brain tumor that arises in or around the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. As the tumor progresses, it presses on the optic nerve, causing a child’s vision to worsen. Blindness can occur and this typically happens in about five percent of cases.

Runway to Hope has been honored to get to know Emaline and her family. Our Family Assistance Program was able to help them in the summer of 2020 with their rent and electric bills as well as when Emaline was first battling in June of 2018. Additionally, through community partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank and Lake Highland Preparatory School, Runway to Hope was able to deliver a full thanksgiving meal and holiday toys to Emaline and her two sisters. We are honored to continue brightening the holidays for some of our children and families battling pediatric cancer. Please consider donating today so we can continue helping families just like Emmi’s.

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