A 14-year-old girl with stage four cancer just received the best Christmas gift—news that her cancer is in remission and she can be home for the holidays.
Chloe Cress of Kingsport, Tennessee started limping, having fevers, and back pain when she was twelve. After a visit to the doctor and some lab tests, Chloe was referred to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, which is 34 miles from their home. At the hospital, a CT scan revealed a tumor near Chloe’s heart that had spread down to her esophagus and into some of her vertebrae.
It was stage 4 cancer, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, which according to the American Cancer Society is cancer in the skeletal muscles.
“It just scares the life out of you,” he said. “You just think, ‘I’m gonna lose my kid.’ And it’s really helpless, because there’s nothing you can do.”
After her diagnosis, Chloe was relocated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The family has been there ever since.
“I was worried about something happening to the whole family because of me,” Chloe told CNN. “I mean like money problems, and all sorts of things like that. Unable to have the same house that I grew up in, having my dogs, having everything I love that isn’t allowed to be at St. Jude.”
For Chloe, missing her dogs Buu and Rollie was one of the hardest parts of treatment. Being able to see them every month was important to her and uplifting for her spirits.
“They’re my emotional link,” she said.
As Chloe battled cancer, she had to put the rest of her life on hold. She missed school and was constantly with doctors. The family sometimes spent 14 hours a day at the hospital.
Last Christmas, the family was able to return home for a few days, but they had to drive back to St. Jude on Christmas day to continue with Chloe’s treatment the day after.
But this year will be different. On Tuesday, doctors informed Chloe and her family that the cancer was in remission and they can finally go home—just in time for Christmas. While they will have to visit St. Jude’s for follow-up appointments every three months, the family can finally go home on December 21.
“This one is more exciting because it’s for good,” Chloe’s dad Shawn said.
While Chloe won’t be able to return to school right away, she said she feels relieved to be going home. And the best part? She gets to spend quality time with her beloved dogs.
Chloe’s family set up a GoFundMe for her and you can donate here.