Cousins Battle Cancer Together

As new high school freshmen, cousins Mareesa Boyatzies and Katie Foster expected to share stories of new friends, classes, and extra-curricular activities. Never did the best friends imagine they would soon share a pediatric oncology team.

Katie, Dr. Korones, and Mareesa at this year's Telethon

Katie, Dr. Korones, and Mareesa at this year’s Telethon.

In August 2011, 14-year-old Mareesa, a student at Wayne High School in Ontario, approached her mother, Leanne Boyatzies, with the concern that her left armpit looked swollen in comparison to the right. She also noticed swelling around her collarbone. A visit to her local pediatrician concluded that Mareesa’s lymph nodes looked abnormally large, but the needle biopsy showed nothing irregular. Mareesa, who felt fine, continued to play soccer and go on with her life as she normally would.

After about two months of various blood tests, a chest x-ray came back showing signs of lymphoma. On Nov. 10, 2011, Mareesa was diagnosed with Stage 2A, non-symptomatic, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She had cancer in her left armpit, chest, and her esophagus.

As Mareesa’s aunt, Lisa Foster, was trying to come to terms with her niece’s diagnosis, she would soon learn her own daughter would be going into the same battle. Read more…

In honor of September being Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, please consider supporting patients like Mareesa and Katie, and learn more about what your gift could do for our oncology program by clicking here.

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