A princess with the heart of a warrior faces her battle with an awesome bravery that wins over hearts everywhere she goes.
A Glitter Explosion
That’s how Piper’s dad, Nelson, describes her: “Too much of a good thing… like a glitter explosion.” And it shows. Just looking at pictures of Piper you can see bucketfuls of personality wrapped up in the body of a spunky three-year-old. Whether telling an imaginative story, or explaining to you why everything looks better in pink, Piper is sure to leave you with a fond memory.
A truly exceptional child, Piper walked and talked before other kids, and excelled at school. She took her vitamins, brushed her teeth every night, ate healthy home-cooked meals, and was rarely ever sick. A perfectly healthy child.
But that changed in June of 2017.
Our Lives Changed in a Single Day
On June 7th Piper developed a slight slur to her speech – one so minor that, if you didn’t know her, you wouldn’t have noticed. In fact, her parent’s thought she was just talking like her baby sister to get a little more attention. Later, thinking that she may have picked up a cold while playing with family and friends at the zoo, her parents took her to the doctor who suspected she had a swollen tonsil.
“While Piper had suffered from increasing night terrors… there was absolutely no reason to believe she had, or would ever get, cancer.”
But Piper’s condition worsened. She was having difficulty chewing and swallowing and was struggling to form words. The next morning, June 12th, 2017, when Piper woke up she could barely walk or talk. Her parent’s immediately took her to a children’s hospital. After several tests a team of doctors informed Piper’s parents that she had DIPG – a rare form of brain cancer – and that they were unable to do anything to stop it.
Children are Different
The day Piper was diagnosed with DIPG, the doctors told her parents that the disease was “uniformly fatal” and “incurable” because no treatment had been developed to stop or slow it. “If I was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and given 9 months to live, I would be angry, and depressed, and demoralized… Children are different,” Nelson says. And he’s right.
Piper and children like her that are battling cancer do so with the strength and fortitude of a warrior. From surgeries and radiation to blood transfusions and medication these children face it all with incredible bravery. Every time. They put on their uniform – which may just happen to be a superhero outfit – and face the challenge of the day.
Find THE Cure
The National Cancer Institute spends roughly 4% of its annual budget on pediatric cancer. It was this realization that drove Piper’s parents to help change the state of pediatric cancer funding.
“No one person, patient, or family can make the change necessary to solve this alone. Only unified action as aggressive as DIPG itself will have the power to overcome this cancer.”
At nearly 8 months post diagnosis, Piper continues to enjoy life, and maintains most of her abilities. Her parents attribute this to her personalized treatment plan, their unyielding hope, and determination to take as many adventures as a family as Piper sees fit. “Our greatest wish is that through awareness and continued research funding, a cure for DIPG will be found.”
Inspired by their princess warrior’s strength and determination, Nelson and Carinna have partnered with The Cure Starts Now on various fundraising efforts to find the Homerun Cure for Cancer.
Since June of 2017 Nelson and Carinna, in partnership with local businesses, have helped raise nearly $4,000 for research in Piper’s honor.
You can help kids like Piper with a simple $10 monthly donation