Meet Charley, our December Child of the Month
Childhood cancer awareness month is over, but pediatric cancer awareness is forever.
Did you know that worldwide a child is diagnosed with cancer EVERY 3 minutes? That is why it is more important than ever to keep the momentum and spread awareness for our little fighters each and every day.
Charley is your typical nine-year-old fourth grader, a perfect mixture of beauty and brains. Fun and playful are two of the best words used to describe her personality. She is very talkative and does well in school. She currently resides in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, where she is supported by a very close-knit family, being the middle child of two brothers, Semaj and Bryant. Before diagnosis you would catch her cheerleading, fantasizing about the magic of Unicorns, and playing Uno, her all-time favorite game.
On October 18th, Charley was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma which is a rare form of bone cancer found mostly in younger children. Although rare, Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, and accounts for about 3% of cancers in children. Although other types of cancer can eventually spread to parts of the skeleton, Osteosarcoma is one of the few that begin in bones and sometimes spread elsewhere, usually to the lungs or other bones.
We got a chance to speak to Charley’s mom, Saleema, and ask her a few questions about her experience with Charley’s diagnosis.
Prayer. I would say prayer. I have a very close-knit family, but the prayer brings us closer. -Saleema, Charlie's Mom
What symptoms led to her diagnosis?
None. Charley fell off a swing and when she went in for an x-ray, the doctors found out about her cancer.
How has the diagnosis impacted her and your family?
I stopped working and fully resigned on October 23rd. It’s like a dream. You really don’t expect things like this to happen, so when they do happen you’re like wait a minute. But life still goes on. We went from planning our family vacation to making sure that bills are straight and that we can make ends meet. It’s hard sometimes because I am always at the hospital but I have two kids at home who also need my attention as well.
What has helped support you most during this time?
Prayer. I would say prayer. I have a very close-knit family, but the prayer brings us closer.
How has childhood cancer changed your outlook on life?
The situation has made me realize that I’m not doing anything that disrupts my peace. It has made me realize that we can’t live our lives negatively. I have matured a little quicker and it brought a new light to my life.
So, what’s next for Charley and her family? Charley has seven more months of chemotherapy treatment to undergo, but that isn’t stopping her and her mom from looking toward the future with a positive outlook. “Charley loves anything creative. I was going to do a Painting with a Twist for children.” Charley’s mom is hoping to soon host an event with music, face painting, games, and, of course, a meet and greet with Charley. All ticket proceeds will go towards Charley’s treatment. Be on the lookout for details of the event and ticket sales in the near future.