Gemma, 8 Years Old, Wilms Tumor

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Gemma, 8 Years Old, Wilms Tumor 

With your help, we are changing the world for kids fighting cancer. For Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month and our 15th Anniversary, follow along this month as we share stories of our past, present, and future. We hope you will feel inspired to change the world too. Your donation benefits the ISF Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s, a global program for kids battling rare cancers. Fundraise for us or donate today.

Gemma was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor on her 3rd birthday in 2017. Today, she is currently in remission, living life the way she should, as a kid. Her and her family’s determination to help support cancer families and funding for pediatric cancer research remains strong. That is why they are fundraising on behalf of ISF this year, to help give more kids like Gemma a fighting chance. Let’s go team “Gems for Isabella!”

“Cancer mamas. I think about them every day. Today will be the worst day of some mama’s life – she will learn that her child has cancer. We were so fortunate to be cared for by the amazing team at LCH on our worst day – they gave us hope for a cure. Our team continues to fundraise for ISF year after year because we are so excited about the possibilities and hope that the rare and solid tumor program brings to families facing a tough diagnosis. And we know firsthand that the doctors and nurses in this program are special and provide world-class treatment to the children – and take care of mama too.”

Defining Support 

“Support as a cancer mom often comes from unexpected people – the charitable volunteers that bring gifts to the hospital (I’m looking at you ISF!), the owner of Planet 21 salons that hears our story and offers to give us both cute pixie cuts to prep for chemo, the dry cleaning lady that texts you for years (even when she changes jobs!) just to tell you she is praying for your family, and our girl nurse Lauren at the clinic who was an absolute angel and took care of me as much as Gemma!”

To Feel Supported

“If it takes a village to raise a child it takes a universe to raise a child with cancer. Our daycare (Ballancrest Academy) rallied a huge team to do the ISF 5K in Gemma’s honor. Those teachers and families cried with me and cheered for me the whole way and we could not have survived without them. They still celebrate Gemma coming back to life with us. They have cemented roles as our extended family because of their never ending support.” 


“All cancer moms will tell you we are part of the club no one wants to join. You are all at once the one that holds them down to access their ports and the one that dries their tears after. It is sickening to watch your beautiful child get chemo or sedate them every day for radiation. And even though you are heartbroken you have to be strong because you are the #1 cheerleader. That is why all the family, friends and community support is so vital. Some days you just need a hug! Also you are basically living at the clinic – thankfully we have the wonderful people at Levine and do not have to go far – but someone has to cut back at work in order to stay on the treatment plan  which adds a financial strain to an already stressful situation. It is so important that families have resources to alleviate that burden.”

-Melissa, Gemma’s Mom 

Gemma and her family are the prime example of people who endured struggle, but are still able to create and spread positivity. Mom’s like Melissa are spokeswoman for others who may feel lost when their child is diagnosed. We are honored to have them as part of our ‘Change the World’ fundraising campaign, raising money for a cause that is near to all of our hearts. Team “Gems for Isabella” have already registered 18 members for our 15th Anniversary 5K For Kids Cancer, with $2,194 raised. They hold the second place title in our friendly fundraising competition. Thank you to everyone supporting them. We hope you feel inspired to help us change the world for kids like Gemma by joining our fundraising challenge.

Or simply donate. Your donation benefits the ISF Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s, a global program for kids battling rare cancers. 

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