Patient Ambassadors

Meet Aliyanna

AliyannaI Said Yes to a Research Trial That Saved My Baby

By Daisy Martinez, Redmond, Oregon

When I was 25 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound revealed a cancerous tumor growing on my baby’s spine. Just five weeks later, Aliyanna was born with the painful tumor – and when it ruptured, her medical team asked me to say goodbye to my tiny 4–pound fighter. I told her: ‘You are strong.’ That same day, she survived a 12–hour surgery to remove part of the tumor that was taking her blood supply.

AliyannaIn February, doctors found the tumor had regrown. We talked about starting chemotherapy to prevent it from getting even bigger, but she was so small that we wanted to try other options first. That’s when Aliyanna came to Seattle Children’s. We met a lot of people right away, but I clearly remember Dr. Doug Hawkins talking to me about a research trial for a drug called larotrectinib. He showed me how it had worked for other kids and he believed it could help stop Aliyanna’s growing cancer.

AliyannaI felt so nervous and scared – Aliyanna would be the smallest baby in the trial – but I decided to be positive and give it a try. Within the first couple of weeks, we saw a huge change. The tumor was visibly shrinking, and Aliyanna was suddenly more awake, hungry and happy. It felt like a miracle.

Today, Aliyanna is a spunky 1–year–old who is fascinated by books, building blocks and any toy that makes noise. She continues to take larotrectinib and is slowly learning to walk. Looking at her now, you’d never guess what she went through in those first months — but I’ll always remember her Seattle Children’s family and how much love they showed to Aliyanna.

 

Aliyanna with teddy bear

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About It Starts With Yes

It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s is a bold initiative – $1 billion bold – to partner with our community and deliver on our shared vision to transform children’s health for generations to come. With your generous support, we can envision a day when we can say yes to hope, care and cure for every child. See what your yes can do donate today.