Addison was a typical loving, energetic six year old who loved everything about life, until about the first week of March 2012. Addison and her sister Rori were surprised by their parents with a trip to Disney World. One week prior to the trip, Rori became sick with a virus; two days before they left for WDW Addison got sick with the same symptoms as Rori. Her parents assumed she had what Rori had and they still went on the trip. While at MDW, Addison was super lethargic and not acting how a typical six year old should act while vacationing at the Mouse House, sick or not.
Once they returned, Addison seemed to be going through severe separation anxiety from her parents. She didn’t want to go to school, nor did she want to go to cheerleading, both of which she typically ran out the door when it was time to go to either one. Addison was still lethargic, but it was getting to the point as soon as she was at home from school at 3:30, she would put her pajamas on as soon as she walked in the door and would want to lay on the couch until it was time to go to bed. Her eating habits changed and she started to become what most would label as a picky eater.
On Monday April 2nd, Addison went to the zoo with Steve’s parents. While at the zoo, she didn’t want to see any of the animals and just wanted to sit in the stroller. After hearing that, her parents moved her already scheduled physical appointment up to the next day.
Dr. Robertson, the family doctor, has known Addison all of her life and knows how she normally acts. At this time, he ran many tests, but also gave us a number for a counselor because of the numbers for the tests came back normal he wanted them to seek counseling for Addison. On Wednesday Apt31d 2012, Dr.Robertson called and spoke to Steve telling him all of her numbers from her blood work were off. He scheduled an ultrasound for her the next day.
During the ultrasound, a large mass was found in her liver. At that time, everyone told Steve & Erin to not think the worst because the mass could be a multitude of things. They then went for a MRI, which proved it was a mass, but it also proved it was the beginning of a much longer journey.
They were referred to Dr.David Rothstein, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Memorial Hospital. On Tuesday April 10th, 2012, they met with him and spoke about what was going on. Dr. Rothstein said two-thirds of masses found in children’s livers are cancerous. He ordered a CT scan because at this point he was more concerned about spreading of the tumor (which officially took over for the word mass at this point). From the CT scan, we received good and bad news.
The good news was the tumor was only in her liver. However the bad news was that is located around the portal vein, which is the vein that pumps blood into the liver to be filtered. Dr. Rothstein said he could take it out, but would be best to try and shrink it with Chemotherapy and go back in and remove it later. He scheduled a biopsy for the next day, Wednesday April11th.
Addison was a trooper with all of her chemo treatments. But after a few rounds of chemo, we not noticed the tumor wasn’t doing much. Steve and Erin started researching for second opinions. On July 18th, 2012, Dr. Jim Geller, out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital called and asked us to bring Addison out to Cincinnati for a transplant consult. She was unanimously put of the transplant list for a new liver.
On September 20th, 2012 Addison received a new liver and techno all became cancer free. The end of September and the entire month of October were her best months. She gained weight, she played, and she loved visitors at our temporary home at the Ronald McDonald House.
On November 13th, 2012, Steve and Erin received the worst news: Addison’s AFP count was going back up. After a month and a half of looking for reasons why, multiple tiny tumors were found in Addison’s lungs. Her family was sent home from Cincinnati for good to continue her treatment back in Chicago so she could be with her family as much as she could.
Some treatments worked and some didn’t. On Friday July 19th, 2013 Addison passed away in her home surrounded by her parents and grandparents.
Addison’s legacy still lives on as she has inspired more people than a tiny seven year old could ever know.