WOKV Care-a-thon 2017: Rue’s Story

Jacksonville, FL — October 1st, 2015, it's a day that changed one family forever.

It's the day, Casey Andeer and her husband Eric, learned their daughter Rue had cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia specifically.

Casey says it was a friend, who first pointed out that Rue looked a little yellow, but she didn't think anything was wrong.

"I thought, this is the healthiest kid ever, there's nothing wrong. Then my mom thought she looked look a little pale, so I took her into the pediatrician and then we were sent downtown and never came home for a week," says Casey.

As you can imagine, it's the last thing any parent expects to hear.

Casey says, "I mean, you get told that, and all I could say to the doctor is, 'is it bad, is it bad, is it bad?', because I knew cancer in stages, I never knew anything about blood cancer."

Casey says it all happens so quickly.

"It's crazy, right after diagnosis, you just immediately get admitted to the HEM/ONC floor, and you just go. You get your port, you get your first dose of chemo, and you don't even know what a port does," recalls Casey.

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But it's the people at Nemours that help everyone get through all the changes, especially the Child Life Specialist.

Casey says, "Miss Joli at Nemours, from the first port access to 18 months later, she has just been a life-saver. Because they'll do anything, especially when your kid has a difficult time with it. They will make sure it gets easier and easier."

She tells us the people that work there, really become your family as you all deal with all sorts of problems you never imagined from hair loss to medication side-effects.

"Steroids, which is my least favorite part of treatment, because you can imagine a toddler on steroids. It's screaming for chips and salsa at three in the morning, it's like 'roid-raging,'" Casey says.

Now, more than a year and a half later, Rue is in what's known as the maintenance stage, so the battle continues. Casey says with leukemia and other blood cancers, you just keep hitting it and hitting it and hitting it.

In the meantime, Casey and Eric have actually become board members of the Child Cancer Fund.

"I look forward to many years of being involved and helping and doing what we can to help other families," says Casey.

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