Today has been 2 years since Olivia received life saving cells from her brother Preston! It was a family affair with lots of cousins, grandparents and Aunt Alecia all there for the day long process! This whole journey continues to be a family affair and we couldn’t be more thankful! We are so happy with how well Olivia’s doing physically, mentally and socially. Thank you for your love and support during her journey!
Olivia is enjoying her summer! She has recently been asked to join an exercise study through Indiana University! Researchers want to learn more about how one-on-one exercise with a trainer can impact the short and long term health outcomes in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors!
Due to COVID-19 this study is virtual, which saves us many trips to Indianapolis to participate! Olivia was randomly selected for the wellness coaching arm of the study (as opposed to the guided exercise arm) and spends 3 hours a week, virtually with her coach! We have learned first hand the importance to pushing through physical therapy sessions and other activity to strengthen Olivia’s body from all the treatments, laying in hospital beds and physical problems chemo has caused! She is thrilled to be part of this study to help other cancer patients!
On top of the 3 hours a week she spends on this study, Olivia also has her first real job! She works around 10 hours a week at Panache SalonSpa in Angola and loves it! With recently getting her drivers license, Olivia is pretty self sufficient these days! She also spends time with her high school tennis team practicing/conditioning as well as having private tennis lessons to catch her up from the last 4 years of little to no activity! Olivia also continues piano lessons which she’s been able to maintain nearly all through treatments the last several years!
It’s been an adjustment to have this much activity going on but Olivia is really building up her stamina! She does go to bed pretty early for a teenager but knows he body still needs extra rest! She is still on neuropathy medicine because of nerve damage in her feet but that doesn’t slow her down much! Now, we wait for the school’s plan for her Junior year of high school! As much as she hopes to go back to a normal school year for the first time since 5th grade, it’s not promising in this unique time of COVID-19!
We continue to be forever grateful for the communities support and prayers for Olivia and our family during the last 4 years! We must continue to pray for those children being newly diagnosed, those in treatment and those families that have lost their child. Many of us can not imagine any of these stages but each are devastating! We must pray to take some of the burden from these families so they can focus on creating a new normal in their lives!
Today Olivia had five appointments at Riley Hospital. It was a 12 hour day with some extra rules because of safety concerns (hence the masks on Olivia and mom) with COVID-19, but we made it home safe and sound! We have results of all but 2 tests from today’s appointment and everything is CLEAR! NO cancer!!!!
It was 4 years ago we heard the words “Olivia has cancer”. Up to that point in our lives, “cancer” was a word we didn’t use. We knew very few people with cancer and of course believed it only happen to other families, never ours! As much as I wish Olivia would have never had to endure all that cancer causes, and missed out on so much time of her childhood, today we choose to celebrate!
Never in my life have I felt so close to God and trusted in Him, as the times my child’s life was on the line. We fasted and prayed for test results. We lifted our girls life to God, giving him full control of her outcome! We prayed and the community prayed!
Our lives would be different without this anniversary. Our kids would be more involved in sports and dance! Instead Olivia has found her passion in philanthropy and community groups and the kids just like to be home! Olivia would been a full time student, complaining about the last 6 weeks of E-learning, when in fact this is a breeze compared to online school while your body is fighting cancer! This anniversary has slowed our life down and made all 5 of us appreciate the small beauties and blessings in life.
Slow down, enjoy each other and find what is truly important to your family and spend your time on that, together!
Thanks to Evelyn for getting up early to make breakfast for Olivia this morning for her anniversary!
If you are a family of a childhood cancer patient or have a child with a life threatening illness, you qualify to apply for Liv it Up funds! Go to the applications tab at www.livitup4kids.com!
Olivia Stoy has been battling cancer since 2016. In 2018 she needed a bone marrow transplant but the family’s insurance wouldn’t cover the transplant. With the help of the community, more funds were raised than were needed for the transplant. Olivia has chosen to give money to families to create “family normalcy”, something outside of cancer and illness! A family can apply for up to $5,000. We’ve been fortunate enough to give money to over 40 families in the last year, traveling to Florida, Gatlinburg, Washington and more! Some kids have been gifted money for swing sets or trampolines! It’s whatever your family looks forward to doing but cancer has taken that away! Apply today at www.livutup4kids.com and go to the application tab!
This girl is Livin’ Her Best Life! In the last month Olivia has started her first season of High School tennis, attended Winter Jam (Christian concerts) in Fort Wayne, cheered on the Purdue Men’s basketball team against Indiana University, hung out with friends, played in the snow and just been your typical 16 year old (even a little sass is coming out!)!
Yesterday we left home at 5am to head to Riley Hospital for check ups! At the eye doctor, Olivia left withOUT getting an injection in her eye for the first appointment in over a year! She also doesn’t need to return for 3 months! Olivia still does not have great vision out of her left eye but it’s better than it was! She had a check up and CT scan. It wasn’t until this morning that we received the call that Olivia’s scans were once again CLEAR! What a great way to start our weekend! Her doctor is allowing us to treat Olivia as a normal teenage and no longer as Immune Compromised! We still do lots of hand sanitizing and hand washing as we’ve learned to do for the last 4 years of this cancer journey!
Olivia is doing great and we are beyond thankful for that! We do ask that you pray for those childhood cancer families that are in the middle of treatments, in the hospital and everything in between! Having a compromised immune system in the midst of this virus is so difficult!
Olivia is half way through her sophomore year, missing minimal school (only for follow up monthly appointments) and enjoying all there is to being a regular high school student! She loves going to sporting events to support her friends and classmates and we couldn’t be any happier that she CAN do that!
Olivia has started conditioning with the high school tennis team this winter! She won’t be the best, she’ll be on the JV team, and honestly she may never get to see any game time, but Olivia couldn’t be happier to just be healthy enough and be given the opportunity! Remember a year ago she was isolated from public and didn’t have enough stamina to make one lap around Wal-mart even if she was allowed to! Tennis conditioning has been tough and Olivia overdid it the first couple of practices. But after realizing she can’t keep up with everyone else quite yet, she’s accepting that and working towards her goals!
Olivia has continued weekly piano lessons, physical therapy, yoga and now tennis! She made the all A’s honor roll the first semester and continues her work with Liv it Up where she’s now been able to award over 30 families with money to create her goal of “family normalcy”!
This last almost 4 years was difficult but we can’t stop finding the amazing things that have come from Olivia’s cancer diagnosis. Personal and spiritual growth have been the things we are thankful for! We definitely have our days of getting worked up over things but overall we are more relaxed in life and parenting! Have you ever seen someone you love go through more grueling things than you ever wanted to see or nearly lost someone you love but by their strength and Gods will you still have them in your life? We hope you never have to experience either but can learn from our experiences! Love your kids, encourage them, take time for them! Love each other, decide what really matters in your life and focus on that!
There are other families that have lost their loved ones and child to cancer! Please find time today to pray for them and their peace! We also would like to ask for prayers for the Walworth family and their daughter Conlei who continues to fight childhood cancer!
Olivia’s birthday is January 21st so instead of a party and gifts she wanted to go to the beach and relax with her cousin Whittney who is just 4 days younger! They have always shared their celebrations and this year is no different! We decided to take advantage of an extra day off of school to take a direct flight to Florida for a long weekend! Some may think it’s extreme but our parenting decisions have definitely changed over the last nearly 4 years during Olivia’s journey!
Olivia still continues to have knee and foot pain for the last 2 weeks since deciding to practice with the high school tennis team! As much as she’d love the pain to go away she’s been a trooper and Whittney and Alecia have been patient with her situation! This has been a very laid back, schedule free trip where we’ve found ourselves having appetizers at midnight the evening we arrived, traveling 40 minutes in the mustang convertible we rented to find the perfect beach, watching the incredible sunset and running in to a cute farmer’s market this morning!
Although Olivia has to stay out of the sun because of what chemo and radiation has done to her body, she is still as happy as ever looking at the beach with her sun protective clothes on, under an umbrella!
We hope you take every moment to Liv it Up with your kids whether it’s time at the park, coloring with them or getting away for a long weekend! Our eyes have been opened at how precious life is and how fortunate we are to be healthy!
Olivia is finishing up her first semester as a high school sophomore and came home with her ceramic masterpieces today! This is the first full semester in over 3 years that Olivia has went to school more days than doctors appointments of being home sick! To top it off she’s finishing with all A’s (assuming her finals go as well as the school year)! Olivia participates in 3 philanthropy groups through school, 4-H, piano lessons, and she’s trying tennis this year! Although the first week of tennis conditioning had her taking ibuprofen for the pain in her knees (damage caused by chemo) and increasing her neuropathy meds so she can sleep through the night without shooting pain down her legs, Olivia won’t give anything less than 100%! She absolutely hates that she can’t keep up physically with her peers but we remind her of the amazing improvement in her stamina over that last several months!
We are so thankful for Olivia’s improvements and for the near completion of her first semester attending high school! Please continue to pray for all of our friends and their family that continue to fight the awful disease cancer! We hate seeing others go through it as much as we hated going through it ourselves! Please God give us a cure!