September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
We met with one local family to hear their story and what message they wanted to send to other families in order to help them get through tough times.
“When a child gets diagnosed with cancer, the whole family gets diagnosed,” said Jen Markiewicz, Mother.
For the Markiewicz family, their daughter Anna was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer known as Meduloblastoma.
Anna was diagnosed when she was 11-years-old and was only a few weeks into sixth grade.
“She had headaches for a short wind of time and we were life flighted to a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh. A few days after being in intensive care they performed surgery and she did excellent through her recovery, but we knew we had a long road ahead of chemo and radiation therapy,” said Markiewicz.
Now Anna is a year and a half out of treatments and is enjoying being a 13-year-old.
“She’s doing amazing you know. She’s playing basketball. She’s you know running around and doing all kinds of stuff, but this is something that sticks with you all the time,” said Dave Markiewicz, Father.
“Back at school playing hoops doing everything she is supposed to so,” said Jen Markiewicz.
One thing that helped Anna during chemo treatment were headbands that were introduced to her at the hospital.
The organization is called Headbands of Hope. This organization donates headbands to children with illnesses.
“Those little tokens of headwear and things like that it just really helps a kid going through cancer. Things like that bring their confidence back,” said Jen Markiewicz.
When Anna was diagnosed, her family said that the community really came together to help support them.
“Our priest from St. Luke’s went to visit Anna in the hospital. They kept sending things to her in the hospital and things like that. Our son goes to Prep and the Key Club got together and took donations for gas cards to help with travel down to Pittsburgh and things like that,” said Dave Markiewicz.
The headband Anna was wearing was her original design she submitted to Headbands of Hope. Her entry got first place.
For every purchase of a headband another one is donated. To purchase one of these headbands, click here.
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