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The University of Iowa University of Iowa

The Emery Thompson Family

"Emery Claire Thompson was born April 1, 2016 and we instantly fell in love with her! We knew something wasn’t quite right with her health shortly after birth. We felt a hard nodule in her right cheek, near the jawline, and we noticed other concerns in the first three weeks of her life. Emery was diagnosed with Stage 4 Intermediate Risk Neuroblastoma (cancer) on 5/6/16. She was only 5 weeks old. 

We immediately started chemotherapy after finding out the cancer was in multiple locations including both adrenal glands, multiple tumors embedded in her liver, cancerous cells in her bone marrow, and the nodule we felt on her jaw was a cancerous tumor. Early on, treatment was complicated by seizures and low sodium levels. After this stabilized, Emery “breezed” through treatment then tumor resection surgery. We thought we were done with cancer and enjoyed an amazing 6 months of great health! 

In early June 2017, we were increasingly concerned about Emery. She started walking in May and was doing great but then we noticed her falling repeatedly and knew something was wrong. On June 28, 2017, we found out the cancer relapsed and the extent was very significant. The tumor was so extensive that it wrapped around her aorta and pressed on the colon and inferior vena cava. Emery went through 5 rounds of immunotherapy. At first, the immunotherapy worked very well at fighting the cancer but the side effects were awful. Emery was in PICU for 4 of the 5 rounds of immunotherapy due to the severity of the side effects. After the 5th round, we discovered immunotherapy quit working and we were faced with finding other treatment options. 

Emery underwent several more rounds of various chemotherapy regimens, a tumor resection surgery, and a multitude of complications requiring extensive hospitalizations. The tumor growth was so rapid that, in early March, we were faced with only one treatment option left which was radiation. The first radiation treatment went well however Emery suffered from complications during the beginning stages of sedation for the second treatment on March 8, 2018. She suffered from many complications after that and left this Earth for Heaven on March 21, 2018, just days before her second birthday." 

-Angie Thompson, Emery's mom