A 14-year-old girl diagnosed with stage 4 cancer is in remission, just in time for Christmas.
Chloe Cress has been a patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN for 18 months, due to Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that forms in the muscle tissue, often in the arms or legs, chest.
The teen from Kingsport was diagnosed after feeling leg pain in June 2018. “Chloe had a limp and we thought it was from tripping over the puppy gate,” father Shawn Cress, 37, an EKG technician, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But when she got sick with a fever and back pain, she had a CT scan, and doctors found a mass in her chest.”
That very night, the family was flown to St. Jude, a world-renowned research hospital, where it was determined that Chloe had stage four cancer. “Chloe’s first question was, ‘Am I going to die?’” Shawn tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But St. Jude gave her hope.”
Chloe’s treatment plan was expected to last 16 to 18 months and the family moved into housing provided by the hospital. When the teen wasn’t receiving chemotherapy, she was resting, playing video games, or continuing her schooling through an education program provided by St. Jude. She also had seven procedures to fix a partially closed esophagus, with her eighth taking place this week, says Shawn.
While Chloe went through hair loss and currently uses a wheelchair due to exhaustion and neuropathy in her foot (tingling and numbness), she just received ideal news.
The cancer is in remission and on December 21, Chloe will head home for Christmas. “It’s surreal — you feel like you’ve run a marathon and beat something unbeatable,” Shawn tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
A spokesperson from St. Jude declined to comment when asked by Yahoo Lifestyle, due to patient privacy laws.
The dad says a bright surprise awaits his daughter — someone in the community heard about Chloe’s homecoming and decorated their home with Christmas lights.
Chloe is most excited about seeing her dogs, a Shih Tzu who was just a puppy when she left home and a Bichon Frise, says her dad. “She’s smiling now. And she wants another dog for Christmas.”
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