January 10, 2014

Happy eleventh anniversary of Sarah’s second birthday!  In other words, Sarah’s bone marrow transplant was eleven years ago today.

This girl . . .



has turned into this girl.



And we will never cease being grateful.

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Photo by Susan Cramer Stein

56 responses to 11.

  1. Such joy!! God is good!

  2. Praise the Lord! Sarah, you are a beautiful, inside and out! What a testimony you all have!

  3. I just can’t get over how much “little Sarah” has grown up. Happy second birthday … you look wonderful on the outside, and I know just as beautiful on the inside.

    • Karen,

      I’ve been thinking that every day lately–that she has grown up SO much and it seems like, so fast! High School graduation will be here before we know it!

  4. Thank you so much, everyone!

  5. Another long time quiet follower here!
    What a very beautiful photo of Sarah that last one is. Congratulations on your second birthday and praise be to God x

    • Rebecca,

      Lovely to hear from a long time quiet follower; thanks so much for leaving a comment! And yes, that is a beautiful photo of Sarah; I love it!

  6. What a happy milestone! ! I can’t fathom the level of heartache you, Steve, and Nathan must have gone through 11 years ago seeing your precious daughter/ sister suffer and be so ill. And what joy, thankfulness and delight you must feel now. If you are ever looking for a topic idea for a post, I’d love to hear about how your perspective on life, faith, relationships etc has been impacted, not just during the crisis, but also as the years have passed and you have gotten to live daily with the miracle that is Sarah, here, healthy, happy, loved.

    I look forward to a day when a cure is found for all children. Our good friends lost their beautiful 13 month old son, their only child, very very suddenly in 2005. An autopsy later revealed he had undiagnosed neuroblastoma. I really think it is because of their strong faith and deep commitment to each other that they were able to survive this loss. it took a long time and several losses before they were blessed with another child, a beautiful daughter aptly named Faith. (And now they have 3 children here on earth).

    Thank you for sharing Sarah’s story of hope with so many.

    • Jenna,

      Your story about the 13-month old boy dying of NB was sad and inspiring at the same time. I can only imagine the heartbreak of those parents and yet to hear of their strong faith and commitment to each other is wonderful to read. A child’s illness and/or death certainly can have a negative impact on a family or a marriage but I think that in many cases is what it ends up doing is drawing the family even closer together. Thanks for sharing that story of loss and hope.

  7. 11 years. WOO HOO! After 13 years with the Hendrick Marrow Program I have met many patient families and the greatest feeling in the world is celebrating these milestones. Every time I can say to a newly diagnosed patient family, well, I know this family whose daughter had a transplant 11 years ago…they exhale the breath they have been holding with HOPE and that is a beautiful thing. So it is with an extra full heart that I join the celebration of Sarah’s second birthday saying thanks for the past 11 years and for all the years to come! XO

    • Courtney,

      If anyone has a front row seat on all the emotions involved in a cancer kid’s journey, you do! As always, thank you for so very much for what you do, day after day. Although I know you see many joys in your job, you also experience much sorrow. Thanks for not giving up.

      And thanks for celebrating Sarah with us; I’m glad her story is giving hope to the families you work with.

  8. Dear Becky and Sarah,

    I don’t comment much, (though I check your site virtually every day) but I have to tell you this post brought tears to my eyes, in a good way of course, but also tinged with sadness at the thought of the other Neuroblastoma/cancer kid warriors who didn’t make it. My own daughter is also a survivor (dx: stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma, 2003, 8yrs old) and is now a beautiful young woman off at university, so of course I feel a kinship with Sarah, and I feel honoured to have been able to follow and share in her journey for over 10 years. She’s an inspirational young woman, to be sure, and pretty darn beautiful, too, inside and out.

    Best wishes with your own health issues, Becky, and congratulations on your anniversary Sarah. I’ll continue to (mostly quietly) follow you from afar…

    Gibsons, BC

    • Lisa,

      It’s always a joy to hear from someone who doesn’t comment a lot and to be introduced in person to a “background reader.” πŸ™‚ And even more a joy than that is to have that person be the mom a cancer survivor. How wonderful to read that your daughter is at university and doing well! That makes me happy!

      I know exactly what you mean when you say rejoicing in our own daughter’s good health brings to mind all the children who didn’t survive Neuroblastoma, Rhabdo and other cancers. I have several people who read here whose child did not survive and it never fails to amaze me when they chime in to rejoice in Sarah’s good health. Such a largeness of spirit is amazing and inspiring.

      Many thanks for following along for so long and many wishes for continued wonderful health for your daughter.

  9. happy 2nd b-day plus one day, beautiful Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. praise God!

  11. Celebrating with you!

  12. Congratulations, Sarah! You are amazing! Both blessed and a blessing…you are an inspiration and a source of hope to many who thought there was little or no hope. I am so glad to be a part of your extended online family and followers.
    Linda in Pittsburgh

    • Linda,

      We are glad you are part of the Smithellaneous gang! πŸ™‚ Thanks for all your words of encouragement through the years.

  13. I love to read posts like this!! Happy Day…so glad Sarah is here to enjoy it! Makes my job worthwhile, even if she was the only one!! Happy birthday Sarah!!

    • Tiffany,

      You will always be a honorary (and honored) member of our family as Sarah’s Official Stem Cell Collector. Thanks once again for the special work you do with those precious kids.

  14. Hi there, Steve, Becky, Sarah and SUMMER;

    I am so glad you have survived cancer…And you also Becky….I AM glad you also have survived. Praising God for his abundant mercies! Amen?

    from Fran in Texas

  15. Michele from syracuse January 10, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Sarah, you are amazing! Praise God!!

  16. Happy “birthday”, Sarah!! And may you have many, many more!

  17. Congratulations Sarah! PTL

  18. Congrats BEAUTIFUL Sarah!!!! I am SO proud of you! You are such a special lady and such a *gift* and blessing to us all! Love the photo of you and baby Noah. Awwww…. SO glad to have you and your wonderful family in my life!!!

    • Bea,

      We are honored that you would adopt us into your life even though we’ve never met. I guess hearts can be joined over distance, can’t they? πŸ™‚ You are such a sweet cheerleader for us all.

  19. A few of us Wisconsin relatives have managed to get unfrozen enough to wave a celebratory arm or two, hop about a bit and say a yay and hallelujah! So thankful for Sarah. Now if we could just see some good progress in Sarah’s mom’s health, we’d be good to go!

    • Deb,

      Sarah just happened to be in the room with me when your comment came in so we had the joy of reading it together. We chortled and giggled and gave thanks for your perky, pesky, presence in our lives. πŸ™‚ Love you so much; thanks again for being a part of our transplant journey and staying with Sarah and me during those weeks when she first got out of the hospital. You made a world of difference–i could never have made it without you.

      • It was a privilege to be able to be with you. Loved the P alliteration–perkily pesky, huh? I guess one has to be known for something. Sending lots of love and a couple icicles! πŸ™‚

  20. Congrats Sarah πŸ™‚ I thought of you today. Can’t believe you are an adult woman. πŸ™‚
    Question Becky: What it is on Sarah’s body in the first picture on the right?
    And does Sarah remember anything from her second birthday?

    • Trine,

      Thanks for your congrats! That picture was taken after a surgery so she still had some heart monitors attached to her body as well as her central line, which is basically a semi-permanent IV that blood can be drawn from and medications given without having to stick her over and over again.

      She’s always said her memories from that chapter are a mixture of what she remembers on her own, what we’ve told her, and what she’s read on the blogs over the years. πŸ™‚

  21. Congratulations!! So fantastic….Praise God:)

  22. Sarah! You’ve come a long way baby!! Been following for a long time and watched you grow into a beautiful young lady! You were meant for great things and I see a wonderful future ahead!

  23. Amen and Halleluiah!

  24. Congratulations for Sarah! She is so grown up!!

  25. Rejoicing with you, dear ones! God is gracious in all His ways – we are grateful!!

    • Sheri,

      I hope you are being careful with that arm of yours before entering into tooooo much strenuous rejoicing! πŸ™‚ Appreciate you guys!

  26. Congratulations Sarah! You persevered and you beat the odds! You have grown into such a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and have a very bright future ahead of you. You need to be the poster child for HOPE, so that everyone can see that yes, children can and do survive Neuroblastoma. Feeling so thankful!