Thursday, September 29, 2011

Turning a Corner

Over the last week or so, Georgia has been moving better and better every day - hooray! Her ankles are still swollen, and she needs the braces for more than just walking around the house, but I think (knock wood) that she's turning a corner on this whatever-it-is. We go back to the clinic to check counts next week, so it'll be interesting to see if they look any different after this marked improvement in her mobility. Always so much to learn!

And even though Childhood Cancer Awareness month is winding down, we've got plenty more awareness events and fun activities to come. Stay tuned, and thanks for Keepin' Georgia on Your Mind!

From the Make-A-Wish Radiothon
(still trying to get the audio!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Above and Beyond

Thanks to all of our donors, and those of the 20+ other teams we had walking yesterday, the Austin CureSearch Walk raised over $90,000!!! That's twice as much as last year and way above and beyond our goal of $60,000, so I'd say that folks are getting the message that we need, and can achieve, a cure for childhood cancers. It was such an awesome day, and The Peachy Keens were out in full force - including dear Katy and Millie, who drove in from The Woodlands to walk with us. Thanks, girls! And being able to have the event right down the street from Dell Children's Hospital was a unique privilege and made it that much more special. We look forward to walking every year until we Reach The Day when every child with cancer can be guaranteed a cure, and we'd really appreciate your continued support! Georgia love to all of you!!!

Georgia receiving her Survivor Medal

Ready to lead the pack!

Millie, Ivy, and Cousins Claire and Vivian

The Mighty, Mighty Peachy Keens - who raised over $6,000!

A surprise cupcake facial, courtesy of Georgia

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Bright Side

Georgia had her regular monthly appointment today, and while she's feeling much better than she was two weeks ago, we're still without a definitive answer on what's causing her joint problems. Boo. BUT, in true Peachy Keen fashion, we're focusing on the bright side of things, because there's always a bright side, right? Yes. Here's the rundown of Current Unsolved Mysteries and Maladies, Plus The Official Peachy Keen Response Thereto:
  • Her ankles are swollen and she's limping when she walks BUT the pain medicine she started last week and the braces she's wearing are working, and she's getting around so much better.
  • Her hair has been falling out again BUT it's unlikely that it will all come out, and even if it does? Been there, done that. No sweat.
  • Her counts were so low two weeks ago, we had to hold her chemo meds BUT today, she's back up in the normal range, feeling great, and ready to get back on her treatment schedule!
So, on we go. We are holding her antibiotic for the next two weeks, on the off-chance it has something to do with any or all of the above, and then we'll re-evaluate at her next appointment. And for the record, this snapshot of some of the side effects Georgia has been dealing with is actually very typical (and somewhat mild, comparatively) of what many of these kids face during and after treatment. It illustrates the importance of, and critical need for, targeted medicines and therapies specifically for childhood cancers - an issue eloquently discussed in this article (which I really hope you'll read!) by the chair of Children's Oncology Group. Research is the key, and research costs money, and that's why we're walking with CureSearch on Saturday. THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to Georgia or joined up with The Peachy Keens, and we hope the rest of you will consider supporting us and our quest for a CURE!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stand Up

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is an initiative created in 2008 to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. SU2C's goal is to bring together the best and the brightest in the cancer community, encouraging collaboration instead of competition. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, here's a video from one of their researchers about his work in the fight against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia:

Thanks to all of you for standing up with Georgia and The Peachy Keens!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where The Money Goes

More from our friends at CureSearch and their pledge to distribute funds raised this year to a variety of studies throughout their member hospital network:

CureSearch for Children's Cancer Commits $5.5 Million
to Children's Cancer Research This Year

$1.5 Million in Clinical Trials Research for Local Hospitals

Using money raised at CureSearch events across the nation, including the CureSearch Walk, a minimum of $1.5 Million will be given directly to Children's Oncology Group (COG) member hospitals to help support the cost of enrolling children in therapeutic clinical trials. These trials are critical to advancing research and treatment. At a time when federal government funding has been reduced, supplementing the high cost of clinical trials is essential to ensuring all eligible children, in markets large and small, can be enrolled in trials.

Support for Specific Diseases and Disciplines

Each year, CureSearch funds research priorities in specific cancer types and discipline areas, such as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, adolescents and young adults, and long-term follow up care. This year, CureSearch is funding $3.5 Million in research projects focusing on:

Ewing sarcomaAcute Mylogeneous Leukemia
Wilms TumorAcute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Brain TumorsSurvivorship

CureSearch will also provide an additional $500,000 for projects such as a new Family Handbook that was prepared in partnership with the COG Nursing Committee, and the annual COG medical meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for physicians, nurses, and researchers to come together to review findings and set their future medical/research agenda.

So, basically, good news all around, although the BEST news would be if we didn't need to raise one more penny because we found a CURE! Or a way to PREVENT these cancers in the first place! I know that we will Reach The Day when every child can be guaranteed a cure, and your generous donation to The Peachy Keens will help us get there. The Austin CureSearch Walk is one week away, so please consider supporting Georgia in her quest to raise $5,000 on her own! Thanks, y'all!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sister Power

Part of the mission behind Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to recognize that childhood cancer affects the whole family - immediate, extended, friends, schoolmates. The journey can be especially tough for siblings, and we've been amazed at how well Ivy has handled herself. Barely six when Georgia was diagnosed, she got a pretty good grasp of what was happening early on, and she continues to ask thoughtful questions and participate in Georgia's care. "Cancer" and "leukemia" are words she can easily say and concepts(?) she can incorporate into her daily life while still understanding it's not "the norm" for everyone. She's so smart and so helpful and just loves Georgia beyond measure - as her sister and her friend. They even have a Sister Power handshake, and I can see and feel it working every day.

Recently, totally unprompted, Ivy turned a cookie wrapper into an oyster shell and wrote the most beautiful story to go with it. I helped her assemble and frame it as a surprise for Georgia when she got home from camp, and now it's hanging in her room, a constant reminder of how special both of my girls are.

The middle is Georgia like the pearl. She is special. The blue is Lukemia like seaweed. The black is bad things and other sicknesses, like rocks. The white shell is all of the people that have helped Georgia. The stuff inside Georgia are some sicknesses but the reason there are not many is because Georgia is fighting them. Love, Ivy

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's the "Little" Things

In all honesty, Georgia's had a tough time of it the past month or so - the first rough patch she's had in a long time, certainly since she started maintenance a year ago. Between regular growing pains, the joint pains caused by her medicines, and the rigors of a long day at school, her legs and feet have been sore almost constantly, and it's hard for her to walk at times. Yesterday, she woke up feeling exhausted (after sleeping a good part of the three-day weekend), and we decided that we needed to get her counts checked. It turns out that her ANC was 270 - but with good indications of it being on the way up - so yes, I bet she does feel terrible! After going over all of the trouble spots since her last appointment, Dr. Neff said she needed a break, so we're holding her chemotherapy meds until her next appointment in two weeks. That should give her time for her counts to recover and for her legs to shake off some of these effects. She's starting swim class twice a week next week, so that should really help - she IS a fish, you know.

All that said, we are so grateful for how well she's adjusting to school, participating in her care, and just forging ahead, through it all. Especially after watching her struggle these last few weeks, it was cause for celebration (Who? Us?) when we actually had something to point to for making her feel so puny (extremely low white count) and even better, a way to fix it (hold the chemo, please)! Very often on this journey, when we encounter bumps in the road, there aren't any real answers to the "What" and "Why" questions. We have to be satisfied with "We're not sure." and "It depends." and just ride out whatever it is until it passes. So to have such a productive appointment - and the opportunity to let Georgia's body and mind recharge for a couple of weeks - is such a gift. One that we do not take lightly, no matter how "little" it may seem.

Little things mean a lot, right? And when you put a bunch of little things together, you end up with one big thing, right? Well, consider this message from our friends at CureSearch:

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we can double your gift! For every dollar donated through September 30, several of our most generous supporters have pledged to match the same amount, up to a total of $100,000! That means, with your participation, we can provide $200,000 to children’s cancer researchers – those working tirelessly to make treatment possible and a cure probable.

The Austin CureSearch Walk is September 24th, so now your generous donation to The Peachy Keens can do double duty! We're just about $600 away from our goal - if everybody gives just a little, we can make it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Austin CureSearch Walk is three weeks away. In just the third year for this walk, we're on target to raise $60,000 for the Children's Oncology Group and Central Texas children being treated at Dell Children's Hospital. The Peachy Keens are drawing ever nearer to our team goal, and we would really appreciate your support!

For Georgia, Adah, Alex, Allie, Andrew, Bailey, Belen, Berkley, Drake, Garrett, Harper, Ishani, James, Jennifer, Kaitlyn, Kate, Kelly, Lenox, Libbie, Maddie, Makenna, Matthew, Mia, Margaret, MiKyla, Mitch, Morgan, Morgan, Nikman, Sara, Tanner, Tatum, Teo, Thomas, Walker, Westin and the 36 children who will be diagnosed with cancer today: These are the reasons The Peachy Keens walk.