This is Cora

Born into a happy family, Cora was wanted even before we knew she was coming. Our son had just turned two and the thought of a little playmate for him made our hearts swell with joy. There’s nothing like the sound of children laughing and playing, filling your world, to turn a house into a home.

We were so excited when we found out she was going to be a girl – me probably more than my husband. Not that her father loves her any less than I do – but a mother’s love and desire is just different. Besides, I had always wanted a daughter.

When they handed her to me and I looked at her face for the first time, and she looked back at me with her Grandma Loretta’s eyes, I experienced more love than I thought capable. I now have TWO children with the love of my life and somehow my heart is able to hold all of that love in it, all at once.

Cora was born on a Saturday morning during a thunderstorm, a perfect metaphor for her personality. She is electric. A force of nature. She is wild. She has no fear of climbing and jumping.

She is three and a half, loves all things pink and purple, and can be heard singing You Are My Sunshine while she plays with her stuffed pigs and My Little Ponies – stopping only to laugh at the wonderful scenarios she’s come up with that day.

She has a really deep voice and laughs like a truck driver.



Early this summer she started having stomach pain and leg pain.

The Pain Begins

At first we thought it was growing pains, but the stomach ache just didn’t fit. Then she started having trouble walking and began crying in the night. We took her to the ER. They looked at her (and at us) and told us it was constipation and sent us home.

Her back and her eyes started hurting. We took her to the pediatrician. Again we were told it was constipation.

A third trip – to the ER again this time – we asked “Could this be anything else?”

“No. It’s constipation.”

Her pain continued and then the fever came.

Another trip to the pediatrician, but this time I was not going to be dismissed as a hysterical female.

“Look. It’s not constipation. You need to DO SOMETHING about this.”

They drew some blood and sent it off to the lab. It came back abnormal. That was on a Monday. By the next Monday, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. She has a large tumor in her abdomen and it has spread to her bones and bone marrow.

Treatment


Cora just finished her second of six rounds of chemotherapy. She’s already lost most of her hair and is very weak. Soon she will go into surgery to harvest some healthy bone marrow and stem cells before the cancer or the chemo takes it all. This will be transplanted back into her later.

Chemotherapy, for those who don’t know, is not the same thing as radiation…. which she will also have to have. Chemotherapy is chemical treatment – which is a fancy way of saying that they are pumping poison into her in hopes that it can kill the cancer before either one of them can take her first. If we are very lucky, the tumors will shrink enough that they can be surgically removed. Then comes the radiation and immunotherapy.

Radiation destroys more than just cancer cells, it also damages much of the body’s natural defenses.

Roughly half (40-60%) of the patients survive the first course of treatment. Of those that do, roughly half (40-60%) relapse within a year. Of those who relapse, the chance of survival is very low. So low they don’t bother with a number.

We plan on beating those odds.

If you can, please help. Every dollar makes a huge difference.

If you can’t, please pray for us and spread the word. #careforcora

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pat corrao
    Sep 23, 2012 @ 22:03:16

    Beautiful job Gerald. Thank you for such a great job,
    Love, Nana Pat

    Reply

  2. Pat Corrao
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 19:02:43

    Our beautiful little girl has the spirit of a fighter.
    So special, so unique!!

    Reply

  3. Ted and Linda
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 10:58:40

    May God touch the hearts of those who read the accounts of this beautiful family, and be moved to prayer and support for them. God is able to defeat evil in all forms, even cancer!

    Reply

  4. Lynnette
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 14:47:13

    I am praying and believing with you for a miracle for Cora. My heart breaks with you for Cora and her family but our God is greater!

    Reply

  5. Sandy Moloney
    Sep 29, 2012 @ 20:58:15

    We are thinking of all of you guys. You are brave. Hang in there.

    Reply

  6. Jane Cuthbert
    Oct 02, 2012 @ 06:09:43

    Dear Cora- you are beautiful. I am praying for you and your family. May the doctors help you beat this and may you all have comfort during this journey. God bless you little one.

    Reply

  7. diane pathieu
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 18:37:22

    God bless, she’s a little angel here on earth!

    Reply

  8. Kathy
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 16:03:30

    Bless you all. Thoughts and prayers are with you

    Reply

  9. Tracy (Lupo) Hensley
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 13:22:52

    Thinking of and praying for you all. God is good. Lots of love sent your way from the Hensley family. Cora looks just like Jackie (Corrao).

    Chris, Tracy (Lupo), Tyler, Dylan, John, and Joey

    Reply

  10. Miguel
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 19:42:08

    It is our hope that Cora gets better. She is always in our thoughts and especially in our prayers.
    - Millan Family

    Reply

  11. Toni Bennett Easterson
    Dec 28, 2012 @ 17:50:24

    To Cora and her family. I am a first cousin of Jim Grinsel living in Minnesota now after living in CT for forty years. It was from our cousin Mary that I heard about Jim’s granddaughter and her struggle with serious illness. Please know that my care and concern goes out to your family. Know that I am thinking all manner of positive thoughts for your daughter’s well being, that I, too, will hold her close to my heart. My sincere and loving wishes for her improved health and well being. I will remember her in my prayers.

    Toni Bennett Easterson

    Reply

  12. Lisa
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 11:53:19

    I saw Cora’s story on the Morning Blend yesterday & it really touched me. I just wanted to tell you there is always hope of a cure; I had neuroblastoma as a baby in 1965. They gave my parents very little hope, but I made it. Cora & your family will have a special place in my prayers.

    Reply

  13. Trackback: Care for Cora, Fundraiser for Cora Grinsel |
  14. Christine Koch
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 17:26:33

    Dear Cora, you are a beautiful little girl and I will pray very hard for you and your family. I believe in the power of prayer.

    Reply

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