Meet Elliana, the Bangor area’s newest superhero! When Ellie was 4, her pre-kindergarten teacher noticed that one of her eyes had a slight droop. Concerned, she called Ellie’s mom, Candi, who had also noticed that something was amiss with her eye. When Ellie’s parents took her to the doctor, they were told that the droopiness might be nothing more than an allergic reaction. But it didn’t clear up. It was then that their pediatrician at Northern Light Pediatric Primary Care encouraged them to see an eye specialist.
“They saw the mass,” recalls Candi. The next step was to remove as much of it as they could, and then test it. It was shortly thereafter that the LaBree family’s life was forever changed. Their daughter was diagnosed with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma cancer. They quickly learned that the scary diagnosis, words no parent ever wants to hear, was an eye tumor that is most commonly found in children. They were told to expect the tumor to grow following that initial surgery, and it did—with vengeance.
“The tumor at one point was growing out of her eye,” said Candi, who explained that it also made the area around Ellie’s eye look red and irritated. Ellie may have lost her hair, she may have missed some of pre-kindergarten, and she may have endured six months of chemotherapy, but she never lost her smile and her will to fight. And, six months after hearing those scary words, her parents were given the best news—no evidence of disease. Today, Ellie is a happy and healthy 9-year old with a bright smile and a twinkle in her eyes. And more than five years after that initial scary diagnosis, Ellie remains cancer free!