There’s a beautiful saying I’ve seen many times on Facebook posted by parents whose children are battling cancer. “Some people never get to meet their hero. I gave birth to mine.” What makes this statement so unbelievably beautiful is the truth in it. These amazing kids are heroes. They have endured more in their short lives than most adults will in their entire lifetime. And they manage to do it with a strength, courage and wisdom that is far beyond their years.
Olivia’s entire life was a battle! She and her twin brother Wyatt were born prematurely at 32 weeks, which required them to stay in the NICU for a month and come home on oxygen.
Then just one week after we finally got rid of the oxygen tank, Olivia began having seizures and we rushed her to her pediatrician where we were life flighted to Denver. That night, on July 16, 2012, we found Olivia’s tumor on a CT scan. And so began her cancer journey.
1 surgical brain biopsy that landed her in the PICU.
4 surgeries on her port to place it, re-place it after it flipped, remove it after finishing up chemo, and then placing it once again when her tumor came back.
7 months of high-intensity chemo.
Numerous hospitalizations for dehydration and seizures.
More MRI’s than I can count
A brief remission where she was still plagued with health problems from her brain tumor including epilepsy, right side weakness, and developmental delays.
1 relapse of her brain tumor after her brief remission that led to:
4 more months of weekly chemo
1 more hospitalization for seizures
Then on October 17, 2013 we learned that Olivia’s tumor had grown tremendously during a shunt series MRI. She was sent home with us on hospice and passed away just 5 days later on October 22, 2013 in the arms of her dad and I.
My baby is my hero. She fought a long, courageous battle and did so with a smile on her face. The picture above was taken on October 16, 2013 just 6 days before she passed away. She was sick and miserable but she could still smile. She could still love. Olivia was the most amazing person I will ever meet in my life. She is my hero and I am more than honored that God chose me to be her mother. I wish with everything in me that it could have been me instead. I love you Olivia. Forever and Always.
The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a pending 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. To learn more or to donate please visit our website.