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                  Elaine's Story

                                                   Elaine came into this world 7 weeks early weighing only                                                               3lbs 6oz on July 4, 1999.  As all new parents do with their                                                               children, we immediately fell in love with her.  


                                                   Elaine was an active, happy girl and was able to experience                                                         many activities in her short  life. She studied piano for 11 years                                                     under Dr. Jonathon Brown at the Pelham School of Fine Arts   where  she participated in music festivals, receiving superior ratings (the highest rating  awarded) every year she   participated.  Elaine cheered in youth cheerleading programs   in  Helena and Alabaster for six years, meeting one of her closest friends.  Elaine joined   Alabaster Girl Scout Troop 993 in elementary school.  With this group of girls she  camped, canoed, rode horses, sold cookies and visited lots of fun places including  Savannah, GA, the birthplace of Girl Scouts.  Elaine swam on the Pelham YMCA Swim   Team  for 4 years.  Her best stroke was   the breast stroke and her favorite pool to swim   in was  the pool in the Aquatics Center at Auburn University.  She loved the Auburn   meets.  When  Elaine was diagnosed with cancer she was a member of the Thompson   High School Girls  Tennis Team.  She has just finished her second year on the team and   loved being a part of  a school team.  Elaine loved spending summer weekends at the   lake and the beach.  She  was able to visit numerous amusement parks and water   parks.  Elaine participated in every  trip available to her so she was able to do and see a   lot of things in her short life.

 Elaine loved animals.  She would have had as many animals as allowed.  She was always  asking for different animals to keep as pets.  In her short life she has had fish, hermit  crabs, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats and dogs.  Elaine left behind one goldfish, Flipper,   that  Elaine won at the Shelby County Fair 8 years ago and 3 beloved dogs, Pretzell,   Teddy and  Lucy.

 In the fall of 2014 Elaine was running and working out regularly in preparation for the  2015 Tennis season with Thompson High School.  In December, her right foot was  bothering her so we had her foot examined by a podiatrist. A physical examination and   x-ray determined the foot to be normal; nothing felt any different than the left foot.  The  podiatrist believed Elaine had tendonitis and recommended new shoes, shoe inserts   and  rest over the Christmas holidays.  Elaine played through the 2015 tennis season.   Little did  we know that would be her last tennis season.  Elaine’s foot was again   bothering her at  the end of the tennis season so we saw a different podiatrist in April   2015.  An x-ray  determined the foot to be normal, however a physical exam revealed a   mass in her right  foot that was not in her left foot.  An ultrasound led to a MRI, which   lead to a biopsy,  which lead to the diagnosis of Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.   Additional scans, including a  PET Scan, led to a diagnosis of Metastatic Alveolar   Rhabdomyosarcoma, as the cancer had  already spread to her left shoulder. 

 The most recent protocol for Metastatic Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma comes from a  research study that was completed in 2011.  This 54 week protocol includes a  combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.  Elaine began this protocol in   June  2015.  The end of November brought an alternative protocol as the cancer was   continuing  to spread.  In January 2016 Elaine's doctors, in desperation, moved to an   experimental  treatment. By month's end Elaine’s body would not accept any more   chemotherapy so  treatment had to be stopped.  Radiation worked well but we couldn’t   stop the cancer from  spreading and we couldn’t radiate Elaine’s entire body.  On   February 6, 2016 Elaine  passed from this earthly life less than 10 months from   diagnosis. 

 Elaine was baptized as an infant at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, AL.  She accepted Jesus as her Savior for herself in the 2nd grade when she was in Sunday  School at Mountaintop Community Church.  We miss her more than words can say but   are  extremely grateful for the years that we had with her.  We wish God had healed her   on  earth but trust Him and His plan and timing.  We take comfort that because of   Elaine, 15  people accepted Jesus as their Savior and were saved at her funeral.  We look   forward to  when we get to be with her in heaven.  While we are on earth we cling to   the hope that we  can see a cure to the cancer that took Elaine and want to do want we   can to help find a  cure for Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma and the other cancers that are   taking children away from their loved ones.

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