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On December 11, Leena was admitted to Sick Kids for her second stem cell transplant. It’s taken us a while to share an update because this block of Leena’s treatment was extremely difficult. The cumulative effects of her treatment over the last 10 months along with the harshness of her second round of high-dose chemo & stem cell transplant really took its toll on her. There was also a heaviness that came with spending yet another holiday in hospital under isolation. Leena spent 29 days in hospital this round and was finally discharged on January 8th. Although it’s not where we wanted to be, we are thankful that we could be together as a family & that Leena was receiving the care she needs which is the best gift we could ask for. During this block of treatment. Leena passed a huge milestone - she received her last dose of chemotherapy for her frontline treatment. It was an emotional milestone but we are so thankful she is done with chemo & can leave it behind in 2023. As we look forward to 2024 Leena still has two blocks of treatment remaining - radiotherapy & immunotherapy. Leena has a lot of healing to do & is being closely monitored by her team as she prepares for her next block of treatment - radiotherapy. She’s happy to be back home playing with her toys, dancing up a storm, & just enjoying the simple comforts of home. 🎗️❤️🌴 #TheResilientPalm
On November 13th Leena was admitted to Sick Kids to begin her stem cell transplant. She received 6 consecutive days of high dose chemo followed by 1 ‘rest’ day of no treatment. She then received her stem cells that were harvested from her back in May. The high dose chemo is used to kill off any remaining Neuroblastoma cells that are in Leena’s body, however, the process also wipes out her immune system. She was then given the stem cells back to help her bone marrow recover & begin generating new blood cells that build up her new immune system. Until her body engrafted those cells, she had to remain in isolation because the risk of infection is so high.
Leena spent 33 days in hospital & we were finally discharged last week. We had to spend a few days close to the hospital for her safety & check in appointments but we were finally given the green light to return home. Because transplant leaves Leena very immunocompromised for a while after treatment is done, most of our time will continue to be isolated at home aside from our check in appointments at Sick Kids. We are thankful to be home where Leena can continue healing and we can spend some quiet time together as a family while we rest & recharge our batteries. ❤️🌴🎗️
Today marks 6 months since Leena was diagnosed. That is 183 days that we have spent in & out of hospital watching our brave girl fight with every single breath she takes. Some days are harder than others & some days are brighter than others, but today we want to share one of the brighter moments of her journey. Last week we spent a few days at Sick Kids getting multiple scans & tests done to determine if the new treatment Leena was on had been working. One of the tests done is an mIBG test - a specific scan that detects the neuroblastoma tumours in her body. We are happy to share that Leena’s results from that scan came back clear - which means the treatment worked! While this isn’t the end of the road for treatment, we are very relieved that Leena was responsive and we received such positive results. So what does this mean for next steps? Well, we are back onto the original treatment plan again which means Leena will now be admitted for her next block of treatment - a combination of high dose chemo & her first stem cell transplant. This is expected to be a very tough part of treatment, but very necessary to ensure that all those neuroblastoma cells that are hiding in her are completely removed to help prevent a relapse. Admission is expected to be a minimum of 4-6 weeks much of which will be spent in total isolation because until her blood counts recover she will be very susceptible to infections that can be life threatening. It’s also to ensure she’s monitored closely to manage the high dose chemo side effects that can be quite severe. It can be very hard to celebrate the ‘wins’ in this journey, because as soon as you receive good news it can be followed up with hard news or the anxiety of what the next round of treatment will bring. But we continue to celebrate every single win in whatever way we can because although Leena’s milestones might not look like a typical child’s anymore, they are still important to us. So until Leena’s admission next week you’ll find us celebrating with daily ‘tatos (Leenas way of saying potato’s aka french fries) & dancing to Hakuna Matata.🌴🎗️❤️ #TheResilientPalm
When we decided to share Leena’s story, we wanted to share the positive side of her journey & not the difficult & ‘ugly’ parts. The reality is that there are so many of those challenging, emotional & painful moments that it’s difficult to keep them hidden away & not let them overwhelm us. We’ve realized that not all parts of treatment will have positive outcomes to share. Very quickly after we received the news about the ‘detour’ in Leena’s treatment plan, we were readmitted to Sick Kids to start her new round of treatment. This block of treatment has been incredibly challenging & the most difficult part of Leena’s journey so far. The days were long, the nights were sleepless, and our hearts remained heavy every step of the way. We are finally back home where Leena will get a few days to recover before we return for another round of treatment.
This hospital admission was also especially hard because we had to spend Leena’s 2nd birthday in the hospital. It’s not where we imagined we would be, but we tried to make it as special as we could. Thank you to the wonderful nurses & child life specialists who made Leenas birthday as special as possible. And to our family & friends who called, messaged, FaceTimed, dropped off gifts & flooded Leena with love & prayers on her special day - we appreciate you more than words can express. #LeenasTribe keeps us strong even through the toughest days. ❤️🩹🌴
It’s been a tough 3 weeks since our last update. A week after we got home from Leenas 5th round of chemo, we were readmitted to Sick Kids. Leena was having a hard time with the side effects of chemo & also caught an infection in her gut making recovery very difficult. After 1.5 weeks in hospital we were discharged home again to prepare for the next block of treatment. As part of preparing for the next block of treatment Leena went in for her full set of scans & tests to assess how she is doing. We received some disappointing news from those tests. Leena has been responsive to chemo, but not responsive enough to move onto the next block of treatment. We need to take a detour in the plan with a new approach & different treatment in hopes this will help eradicate the cancer from her body so she can continue on her original plan. It was a shock to hear the news because most of the other indicators leading up to these scans showed positive results. This was not the news we expected or hoped for but have accepted the reality & are hopeful her new treatment plan will get her back on track. Leena remains in good spirits, enjoying her driveway visits from family & friends when she has the energy, an occasional empty playground trip & eating all the banana popsicles & french fries she can. To say she keeps us going is an understatement. ❤️🩹🌴
Leenas surgery was an absolute success! The surgeon removed 99% of Leenas primary tumour & there were no complications. This is the best possible outcome we could have asked for going into this surgery. We are SO thankful to Leenas surgeon for doing the impossible & to her entire nursing care team that has been taking such great care of her during her post op recovery. Leena continues to amaze us with her resilience & bravery every single day. Leena was discharged in record time (3 days!) and will continue to recover at home before her 5th round of chemo next week.
We’ve received the good news that Leena's primary tumour has reduced to 1/3 of its original size! Her oncologist & care team are happy with these results because it means she’s been responsive to the chemo. They’ve also confirmed she will move forward with her resection surgery to remove the primary tumour next week at Sick Kids. We are so thankful for this good news and couldn’t be more proud of our sweet resilient palm. 🌴
We are so thankful for the continued love, support & prayers for Leena. 🙏🏼❤️🎗️
Leena has finished round 4 of chemo & we have been discharged from Sick Kids!
The week of July 2 will be a big one for us. Leena will have her first scan since beginning treatment, and this will let us know if the chemo has been working. Going into this scan, we are hopeful for positive results.
Until then we will be monitoring Leena’s blood counts to recover from this last round of chemo. We also plan to enjoy some time at home & the warm weather outdoors.
We remain grateful for all the prayers & positive energy that everyone has been sending. 🎗️🌴❤️ #LeenasTribe
Leena has successfully completed her second round of chemotherapy. She’s been in good spirits since this round ended and has enjoyed getting to spend some time at home. She’s been dancing to her favourite songs (and videos sent by her favourite teachers - Ms. Roshnee, Ms. Crystal & Ms. Maryam), blowing bubbles outside, making pancakes every morning, eating her favourite snacks and getting (distanced) visits from all her favourite family & friends.
Before her second round of chemo started, Leenas dad and her two cousins, Kaden & Adam, had a special day to shave their heads to support Leena. It was incredibly touching and we are so honoured that her cousins showed such a selfless act of love for their baby cousin. ❤️
While at Sick Kids hospital during this course of chemotherapy we were finally able to collect Leenas bravery beads. Bravery beads are not given as a reward but they are earned honouring a child’s bravery for going through a different procedure or event. There are over 120 different kinds of beads to represent procedures like blood transfusions, surgery, course of chemotherapy, injections, NG tube insertion, dressing changes, dressing changes, stem cell harvest, scans, tests, procedures, bloodwork.. the list goes on. Leena has over 100 beads strung together in only one month since her diagnosis. It’s incredible what she has been through in such a short time and continues to have a smile on her face.
Next steps for Leena will start with a stem cell collection/harvest that will be used later down the road during another phase of her treatment plan. This will require us to spend a couple of days at Sick Kids during the collection procedure. We will also be preparing for round 3 of chemotherapy starting May 25. This round of chemotherapy has a different combination of medications so Leena will be admitted as an inpatient so they can keep a close eye on her for side effects.
We continue to remain in awe of our beautiful brave girl and how she continues to tackle every single day with all her might.
We thank you all for the continued love, prayers, messages, calls, donations, meal drop offs, visits, gifts for Leena, and endless support. Everyone who has contributed will be thanked personally, but until then we would like to express our immense gratitude to you all. We are so thankful to be surrounded by such a loving and supportive community during this time. ❤️
On April 3rd we took Leena into Sick Kids ER and within 24 hours she was diagnosed with a form of children’s cancer called Neuroblastoma. We were told she is considered a high-risk patient and she was admitted to the hospital immediately. Things moved very quickly and on April 5th Leena began her first round of chemotherapy which lasted 5 days. Leena will have a long road of treatment ahead which we are currently taking one day at a time.
We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love & support everyone has shown us. We are so incredibly thankful for the kindness & generosity that has been shown to Leena & our family. The donations & messages we have received are above and beyond anything we could have imagined. We are truly speechless and can not thank you all enough.
We are currently preparing for Leena’s second round of chemotherapy starting May 1st. Leena remains in good spirits and is showing us the meaning of true resilience & strength. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts & Leena blows her famous kisses to all of you. ❤️
It is with great sadness that we inform you that one of the toddlers from the Toddler 2 room, Leena Cardozo, has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with Leena and her family during this challenging time. Throughout Leena’s time at Newstead Academy, she brought so much joy and happiness to her teachers and anyone she crossed paths with. At Newstead, we want to ensure we support the family in any way we can. With that in mind, we would like to announce that the centre will be hosting a fundraiser on behalf of the family.
We know that many of our staff and families are willing to offer support, and this fundraiser will give us all an opportunity to come together as a community and help this family during this difficult time.
If you would like to donate, we have created a Formstack link where you can submit your donation. Additionally, families will be able to leave a message for the family through the link and all messages will be passed on to the family.
We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, and we want to thank you in advance for any contribution you may make. Please know that all funds raised will go directly to the Cardozo family to assist them with any expenses that will arise during this time.
We will continue to keep you updated with any additional information and the fundraising efforts.
Thank you in advance for your continued support and care for our community.