In July of 2009 at the age of 14 Casandra was diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma which is cancer of the muscle. We were sent to Children’s Hospital in Denver. We spent 3 weeks there, at which time it was determined that Cassie had a 20% survival rate. This is something no parent ever wants to hear!
Cassie started her chemotherapy there. We were fortunate that she was able to continue her chemotherapy at home in Billings. She received chemo 5 days a week for a year. In December of 2009 Cassie and her mom returned to Denver for 6 weeks of radiation and chemo which she received Monday through Friday. This was a really hard time for both of them. Cassie was sick all the time and very weak, for her mom that was heart breaking to watch.
When they returned home she continued her chemo. Casandra went into remission which was very exciting! The excitement did not last, the cancer came back. This type of cancer does not have a lot of options for treatment. So at this point the doctors tried an experimental drug. As a family knew it would not kill the cancer but they can say it gave Cassie a life. She was able to get out and go to school, spend time with her friends and take a couple of trips.
She lived her whole life in that year and a half. On March 13, 2012, at the age of 17, God called Cassie home. She never quit the fight her body just got tired. She fooled all the doctors who said she would not make it past 6 months.
Cassie inspired so many people including strangers. We all learned what strength, courage, and determination are from her. But most of all we learned the true meaning of unconditional love! Casandra is the strongest person we will ever know in our lifetime. She is so loved and missed by her Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and all her friends and family as well as those whose lives she touched.
Cassie always said: "LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST".
This foundation is set up in memory and honor of our daughter Casandra, who was deeply touched by all of the support we received during her fight with cancer. She had talked about wanting to set up a fund to help other families with kids going through what she had. After her passing it was the only logical step to take. Our family along with the love and support of our friends and community started Cassie's Gifts of Love to carry on our daughters name and wishes.
All funds will go directly to help those families of children with cancer. Whether it be for travel costs, prescriptions, treatments or just day to day necessities. As Casandra always said, "we the kids are the future" so our mission is to help as many kids as possible.
This foundation is all voluntary and has no paid employees. Thank you for your support! Cassie's Gifts of Love is a 501 (C) (3) Non-Profit Foundation.