30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2023
Being a parent is one of the greatest joys in life, but being a grandparent is a special blessing. I have been truly blessed with two daughters and four granddaughters. Grandchildren bring so much happiness and love to a family, but also when tragedy strikes the sadness and grief that ensues is unimaginable.
This is the story of my sweet three-year-old granddaughter, Emersyn. Emmy was born on January 18, 2020, and was a beautiful healthy baby. We saw Emmy frequently and were delighted by everything she did- cutting her first tooth, taking her first steps, and speaking her first words. We couldn’t have loved our little red-haired angel anymore if we tried. When Emmy was around 18 months old our daughter commented that that she thought Emmy’s right eye looked strange. I just thought perhaps it was a lazy eye. As the months went on, my daughter became more concerned and brought it to the attention of the pediatricians.
In April 2022, my husband and I were fortunate to take a ten-day trip to Europe. When we returned home, we found out the devastating news that Emmy was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Our two-year-old precious Emmy had cancer in her right eye. To say we were utterly devastated and heartbroken is an understatement. Every emotion hit all at once. I felt unbelievable sorrow, helplessness, anger, worry and fear. How could this happen to our granddaughter? How would my daughter and son-in-law handle this?
It was like our trip never happened. Rome, Barcelona, and Florence were like a distant dream. All our thoughts and energy were now focused on Emmy. Within days she was at CHOP and Wills Eye Hospital. The surgery was scheduled. We knew she was going to lose her eye, but what we didn’t know yet was if the cancer had spread anywhere else. I think waiting for that news was the hardest of all for me. We had so many friends and family members praying for Emmy. So much love and support were pouring in from everyone we knew. My personal faith helped me to get through the worst ordeal of my life. Sitting in the waiting room during the surgery hoping and praying for the best possible outcome was excruciating. Finally, we got the news that that the surgery was successful, and our Emmy was cancer-free. The tears flowed and my heart ached for what my little granddaughter went through and what she would go through in the months and years to come. Today Emmy is a normal three-year-old taking dance lessons, swimming, playing with dolls, and being a big sister to four-month-old Leah. Her smile and laugh are infectious, and her Pop and I love her to pieces!
You never think something like that will happen to your family, but we were blessed to have wonderful doctors at CHOP and Wills Eye Hospital to take care of Emmy. And we are truly grateful for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley. With their help Emmy has made it to baseball games, Disney on Ice, had the chance to interact with other kids at trick-or-treat and Valentine's Day events, and so much more! They helped our family navigate one of the hardest times of our lives and offered support in any way they could. This foundation does incredible work and cannot be praised enough!
Written by Emmy’s grandmother, Cindy
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip