Childhood Cancer Survivors Band Together for St. Baldrick's

6 years 11 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, April 13 2013 Apr 13, 2013 Saturday, April 13, 2013 11:54:00 AM CDT April 13, 2013 in News
By: Jen Lask
loading

COLUMBIA - Last year, five-year-old Phoenix Bass attended a local St. Baldrick's event in the midst of undergoing chemotherapy. This year, she returned as a survivor.

St. Baldrick's is a national foundation that raises money for childhood cancer research. Founded in 2001, St. Baldrick's raises millions nationwide every year. Participants shave their heads to show solidarity and support for people whose lives have been impacted by cancer. On Saturday, April 13, the MU School of Medicine led local participants for the third year in a row.

Columbia's Phoenix was recognized as an "Honored Kid" at last year's main St. Baldrick's event. In 2011, she suffered a seizure while visiting close relatives in Kansas City, an event that her mother, LaDawn Cole, said was the first sign that something was wrong. After she was stabilized at Center Point Hospital, Phoenix was life-flighted to Children's Mercy in Kansas City, where doctors discovered a cyst on her brain.

"As a mom, you don't think the worst," Cole said. "You just don't, not for your kids at least. I thought, 'Okay, she's got a cyst, what's next? What are they going to do to fix it? It'll be easy to take care of and we'll be back home.'"

While doctors successfully removed the cyst in late December, the outcome of the surgery was not so simple for Phoenix. On January 13, 2012, Phoenix and her family returned to Children's Mercy for a follow-up appointment. Cole recalled watching her daughter's doctor walking into the meeting, followed by her oncologist, neurologist, a social worker and a case worker.

"Then I thought something's not right," Cole said. "It doesn't take this many people to give you good news."

The doctor told them the tumor was malignant; Phoenix had cancer.

"I don't know the best way to describe it," Cole said. "You're standing and the floor just disappears and you fall, and it's like nothing is around you. You can't grab ahold of anything. It literally felt like my whole world had ended. It never crossed my mind that she was going to have cancer."

The tumor fell into the primitive neuroectodermal family of tumors (PNET), a highly aggressive form of cancer. Phoenix underwent six weeks of full brain and spine radiation, followed by chemotherapy, which Cole said was the rough part.

"She left her last day of radiation and she was still pretty healthy," Cole said. "She lost 15 to 20 lbs. during chemotherapy. You know, at barely 35 lbs., when you're losing so much weight, you're literally withering down to nothing."

Cole said she found support through doctors and nurses, as well as other families going through the same experience.

"They knew," Cole said. "They'd seen it. That's why I think events like these are so important, because I know the pain, I know the feeling that there's nothing that you can do to help your child except be supportive."

At this year's St. Baldrick's event, Phoenix danced to the music and got her face painted. It was a complete turnaround from last year's event. 

"Last year was overwhelming in the best way," Cole said. "We saw all this support here, we got to meet wonderful people, but it was still very difficult because we were in the middle of treatment. This time we have enjoyed it 110-percent because she's in remission."

While Cole admitted the future can be unpredictable, her family's focus is on the present.

"Cancer didn't change who she is," Cole said. "It's not going to change who she's going to become. She's still going to be Phoenix, she's still going to be the way that she is: happy, bubbly, giggly."

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
BOONVILLE - A land, water and air search was underway for a man who jumped over the side of a... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 6:24:00 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump said Sunday he would extend his "slow the spread" social distancing guidelines to April 30... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 5:37:00 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - 19 people in Boone County have recovered from COVID-19, according to the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human... More >>
9 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 2:46:00 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More surgical masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and other equipment is being sent to healthcare facilities around... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— Columbia chefs are donating food and resources to provide "Scrappy Meals" for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 1:38:00 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
NEW YORK (AP) — New York state's coronavirus death toll is nearing 1,000. The state accounts for more than... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 1:18:07 PM CDT March 29, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN —Outside a hospital’s confines, providing medical care as a first responder in the wake of COVID-19 adds another... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 10:58:00 AM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
AP—The coronavirus outbreak could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans, the U.S. government's top infectious-disease expert warned on Sunday, as authorities... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 10:07:30 AM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, March 29 2020 Mar 29, 2020 Sunday, March 29, 2020 6:27:00 AM CDT March 29, 2020 in News
MORGAN COUNTY - Morgan County Health Center (MCHC) posted to their Facebook page to let residents in the area know... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 9:32:20 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - State Representative Joe Runions is continuing his recovery from COVID-19 at home. On March 20, the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 6:39:00 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson is appointing Nodaway County Associate Circuit Judge Doug Thomson of Maryville to the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 6:05:51 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
FULTON (AP) — A church in Fulton held its first drive-in services in its parking lot as it practices social... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 5:55:00 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
CHARITON COUNTY - As more testing is done, more people are confirmed positive for COVID-19. Chariton County placed a stay-at-home... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 5:24:00 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People in Jefferson City and the surrounding communities woke up to damage that some have never seen... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 4:17:00 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
O'FALLON (AP) — The death of a person in St. Charles County from the coronavirus is the 10th in Missouri.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 3:52:00 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A potential exposure of COVID-19 at Mexico Middle School might have occurred the last two days of... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, March 28 2020 Mar 28, 2020 Saturday, March 28, 2020 3:00:00 PM CDT March 28, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
1am 49°
2am 47°
3am 45°
4am 44°