Blake and Abigail Estevez of Norco have waited over seven months for the magic word that they longed to hear from their daughter’s doctors – remission. Their prayers were answered this month when their 16-month-old daughter Blakely was declared cancer free.
The news comes after one surgery and 27 rounds of chemotherapy. The family’s cancer journey began on Jan. 27 when Abbie brought Blakely to the pediatrician for a wellness visit. What started as her routine 9-month wellness visit led to the baby being diagnosed with cancer.
“Nothing has been wrong with her other than an ear infection … she’s a perfect baby,” Blake said. “Abbie had noticed a lump in her belly – she had noticed it in the past and brought it up, but the doctor had pressed on it and it didn’t cause Blakely any pain and so it wasn’t really a concern. After the wellness check Abbie asked about it again … she didn’t plan to ask about it, but she did, and the doctor said, ‘Let’s schedule an ultrasound.’ That’s where things kind of took a turn.”
Blakely was sent to Children’s Hospital to get blood work and a CT scan. After the tests were complete, it was determined that she had a Wilms tumor on her left kidney and a small lesion on her right kidney.
“Cancer free … her body is cancer free for now,” Blake said, adding that his toddler will get scans every three months for at least a year to make sure that cancer doesn’t return. “Oh man I can cry even thinking about it. Everyone tells you, ‘I’m praying for y’all … y’all are so strong.’ We didn’t feel strong, but what else were we supposed to do?”
Hearing the news that Blakely’s treatments were successful, Blake said, was a huge sigh of relief.
“It’s still scary though,” he added. “I already feel anxious for the next scans. Blakely is a trooper though. She made it … she smiled the whole way through it.”
Blake said that the bevy of community support, blood drives and fundraisers bolstered the family during the most trying of times.
“The support from the community was unreal,” he said. “We couldn’t possibly tell everyone thank you, and thank you isn’t even enough. St. Charles Parish … the whole River Region … shows up for everything. I can’t say thank you enough.”
Blake said his daughter’s news came at the perfect time – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“We’ll forever be advocates for childhood cancer,” he said.