Alaina Thompson was only five years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. After weeks of doctor’s visits, Alaina was sent for a scan, which revealed a primary tumor on her left adrenal gland and a secondary tumor on her chest and neck. The cancer had already spread to her bones and bone marrow and she was only given a 30% chance of surviving to remission. In November 2015 at the age of 15, Alaina received her eight-year checkup with no evidence of disease, and has been officially declared “in remission” for the past three years.
Alaina was the honorary hero at the October 6th Color Me Green 5k, 10k and Caterpillar Run benefiting TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. The event raised more than $40,000 for childhood cancer research. Alaina, a student at Lone Star High School in Frisco, helped turn the Frisco Square into a sea of green to honor all the kids battling cancer and those who have lost their battle with cancer.
“When you get a diagnosis that literally sucks the air out of you, you just want encouragement that there will be a tomorrow,” said Cindy Thompson, Alaina’s mother. “I find miracles every day we have Alaina in our life and how far we have come in our fight with childhood cancer.”
At age 15 with no evidence of disease, Alaina continues to live her life to the fullest. In her spare time you could catch her painting, drawing, playing the flute in her high school band or hanging out with friends. While undergoing treatments, Alaina decided she would like to be a doctor and plans to attend medical school.
The treatments Alaina received during her fight with cancer are not without side effects. Alaina has to deal with hearing loss, leg pain, memory issues, kidney damage, non-functioning ovaries, early stage osteoporosis, growth and puberty issues, and diabetes.
“We are humbled for Alaina to be our Color Me Green honorary hero,” said Joy Cruse, founder of the TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. “Connor fought neuroblastoma, too. In fact, he beat neuroblastoma, but developed a secondary cancer due to the radiation used to fight neuroblastoma. His secondary cancer proved fatal. Events like the Color Me Green are essential to bring awareness to childhood cancer and help in the race to find a cure.”
TeamConnor hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds for childhood cancer research, including the December 8th Northwestern Mutual Clay Shoot, the III Forks Golf Classic & Auction Dinner, and the September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Concert at Watters Creek. In addition, TeamConnor’s national Coins for Kids with Cancer ™ program raises funds in schools, churches, offices and organizations.
TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is the legacy of eight-year-old Connor Cruse of Frisco who lost his four-year battle with neuroblastoma in 2009. TeamConnor has awarded more than $2 million in funding for childhood cancer research and patient programs across the country since 2008.
Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. In the United States, cancer kills more children every year than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined. Yet, the National Cancer Institute allocates less than four percent of its funds to pediatric cancer research. TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is dedicated to serving families, building awareness, and raising funds for research to help cure childhood cancer.
For more information on how to join the fight against childhood cancer, please visit teamconnor.org or Facebook.com/TeamConnor.