In 2011, Sydney was a normal 12 year old girl who loved volleyball and studied hard. While summer would normally be a time for hanging out with friends, Sydney’s life drastically changed that summer. On July 21st, she received life changing news... Sydney had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Sydney’s life went from being about school and friends to revolving around doctor’s visits, hospital stays, intense chemo, steroids, pain killers, nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, and blood transfusions.
Two weeks after Sydney’s initial diagnosis, her family was told that the genetic testing showed that chemotherapy alone would not cure her cancer. She would require a bone marrow transplant. A perfect match was found in her sister, Alex. In order for her sister’s marrow to have a chance at engrafting, the doctors had to completely destroy Sydney’s bone marrow. This required high levels of intense chemotherapy and total body radiation, both of which are very damaging to the body. On November 4, 2011, Sydney got a second chance at life with her sister's donation.
As a result of her treatment, Sydney has kidney damage, pituitary damage, ovarian damage and high blood pressure. She requires daily human growth hormone injections and will not be able to have children. She will be monitored annually for continued health issues and secondary cancers due to treatment. Despite Sydney’s cancer diagnosis and related health complications, she considers herself to be lucky. Sydney has been in remission for over five years, and enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends, and living life to the fullest.
In Sydney’s words, “The money you raise will save lives. I know from experience. I cannot go back and thank all of the people that helped raise the money that saved me, but I can inspire you to raise what is necessary to save future lives, many of them children. You may never meet the people you save, but they and their families will be forever grateful.”