Olivia is one of six finalist for the 2022 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar, selected by the Steuben County Community Foundation. There were 22 applicants from schools around Steuben County. Final interviews will be next week! We are so proud of Olivia!
Over 3 years ago, Olivia applied to Make A Wish. We had been talking to people from the organization about a trip to Hawaii when COVID-19 hit and all Make A Wish travel was banned. In January 2021 Olivia started planning again but this time she was working on a non travel wish, nothing could compare to a trip to Hawaii! The whole family was trying to help her come up with something special. Tom reminded Olivia how she has always talked about writing a book of her journey! Olivia wasn’t interested in writing a best selling novel, but she’d like to get everything down on paper so she doesn’t forget any of the details of her 4 year journey!
Olivia was put in contact with Rick Farrant through Make A Wish. Rick lives in Fort Wayne and has two self published books. Olivia and Rick have been meeting once a week for the last 6 weeks and plan to continue compiling information for weeks to come! There hasn’t been a session where tears aren’t shed. Who knew this process would also be amazing therapy for our family as well!
This book is just in the beginning stages but these 2 are working hard and can’t wait to see where this goes! We will keep you informed during this journey!
Last night our family loaded up to attend Olivia’s first ever tennis match! Thankful for the recent rain so Tom (farmer dad) could catch at least one match this season! Olivia has been taking lessons regularly for a year now just to get to this point! There are very few other sports and coaches that would give her the opportunity to be part of the team. Let’s remember, two years ago this girl was home quarantined for 9 months. And by quarantined I mean she didn’t go to restaurants, to the grocery, to friends or to school! She didn’t leave the house! Olivia had lost all muscle tone from the Stem Cell Transplant and did physical therapy from home to gain strength to walk through the house with out assistance. She was also not able to bath herself 2 years ago.
There we were, in our lawn chairs, watching our girl play tennis! She wasn’t the best, she didn’t win, but she was doing it and got a point! Tom hadn’t seen her play/practice so he was especially impressed! After 5 years, we are finally busy from something we signed up for and not something we had no control over. People say how busy they are all the time, but so many times we’re busy with what we chose to commit to! We didn’t chose cancer but it definitely made us busy. It’s a bit of a blur but yet I remember every detail. No, I don’t know how we did it, you just get in Mama Bear mode and trust God to guide you!
So here’s to a great rest of the season to Olivia and AHS Tennis! Praise the Lord for this miracle!
In 2018 Olivia’s family had to postpone their scheduled spring break vacation to the Grand Canyon because of Olivia’s cancer relapse. In 2019 Olivia was still quarantined because of her stem cell transplant and couldn’t leave home, let alone hop on a plane. Finally in 2020 the family rescheduled the trip out west but COVID-19 shut the whole country down so the trip was canceled again! We are excited that Olivia finally got to take that trip and just returned yesterday! She had a wonderful time just being a kid and enjoying the sights!
Olivia knows cancer takes so much away from kids and their families which is why she set up Liv it Up! There are still funds available for up to $5,000 for families with children that have cancer or life threatening illnesses! Please tell people you know that could use this blessing! The application is on the “application” link at www.livitup4kids.com. After completed either mail it to PO Box 22 Pleasant Lake IN 46779 or email the application to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Last night Olivia volunteered at the first ever Northeast IN A Kid Again, Adventure box pick up! Sweetwater Sound was kind enough to let us set up a tent for local families to be a central location for box pick up and activities! Olivia was so excited to meet 2 Liv it Up kids in person, Aiden and Henry! It was so great to see them and talk with their families!
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!!!!