On September 14, 2015, Henley and her twin brother were born perfectly healthy at 38 ½ weeks. About three months later, just a few days after Christmas, Henley’s mother was rocking her to sleep when she noticed a knot on her leg. Her concern led the family to a local after-hours pediatric clinic, which then referred them to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. The next few months were spent seeing different doctors, running x-rays and scans, all leading to no diagnosis. All the while, the knot on Henley’s leg was still growing. A pediatric surgeon decided to rush an MRI and Henley’s condition was finally discovered—cancer. Henley’s parents were devastated.
A biopsy of the knot showed that Henley had Ewing’s sarcoma of the soft tissue. The next day, Henley’s parents met with Dr. Jennifer Keates-Baleeiro of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. More tests followed including CT scans, PET scans, and a bone scan to assess the severity of the disease. All came back negative. The next week, Henley had surgery for a port placement, a bone marrow biopsy, and a lymph node biopsy, and was admitted to the hospital for her first chemotherapy treatment. Her first round of treatment lasted 12 weeks with intermittent stays in the hospital. Henley’s parents stuck by her side the whole time, even in the midst of having two other children to take care of and jobs to maintain.
After the 12 weeks, Henley went to Monroe Carroll Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to have the tumor removed completely, followed by a 16-week round of chemotherapy back at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. During these long weeks, Henley made friends with many of the nurses on the floor, the doctors, and other kids fighting the same fight she was. Today Henley is 18 months old and completely cancer free! Her mother says: “Henley is a true inspiration and such a little fighter. She has kept a smile on her face through it all.”