On the other side of the world from our TinySuperheroes Headquarters lives an Extraordinary TinySuperhero named Super Rachel who is strong, brave, kind, creative and compassionate. She has fought through anxiety, severe asthma, surgeries and stage 3 cancer.
There is a special reason that I am sharing her story with you. Super Rachel is so much stronger than she realizes, so much more beautiful than she sees, and so much BRAVER than she thinks. As her Squad, it is our job to reflect these things back to her so she can catch a glimpse at just how Extraordinary she is.
Super Rachel is 15 years old and lives in Australia. Her loving character has drawn a troop of sidekicks to her, including two younger brothers (Izaac & Jarrod) and Ella, her bear who has never left her side, and her new tubie friends bear named Charli-George.
On the last day of school in 2015, Rachel found a hard lump on her neck. After many doctors appointments, too many tests without results, and much anxiety, a CT scan revealed that Super Rachel had Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The word “cancer” hit as hard for Rachel as it did for her parents. She started sobbing when the doctor told her, and although she was terrified, she gathered all of her strength and walked right into battle.
Rachel was admitted to the hospital the same day as her diagnosis and had her first surgery for the placement of a PICC line, biopsy, and bone marrow aspiration the very next day. Life changed overnight for her family.
Super Rachel began intense chemotherapy which greatly increased her anxiety and brought on panic attacks. When she needed a spinal tap/lumbar puncture, she was so anxious about being put under anesthesia again that she went through the procedure wide awake.
With each hospital admission brought more anxiety, but in the midst of this, she became a constant blessing to the other kids in the ward. She played with them and used her bear to make them smile. While she was fighting cancer, she was giving life to others. And as if fighting cancer wasn’t enough for a 15 year old, in the midst of this she lost her beautiful long curls and a close friend to cancer.
Today Super Rachel is in remission, which is certainly something to celebrate. However, as is true for many who beat cancer, the battle is far from over. The chemotherapy she endured has presented new challenges for Rachel, primarily with her legs. Her legs are not sturdy making it nearly impossible to walk, so she is currently wheelchair bound. She is beginning rehabilitation for her legs, but fights chronic pain and relentless anxiety which has kept her out of school and away from friends. Super Rachel also put on extra weight because of all of the steroids she took during treatment. She is working so hard in therapy to lose this additional weight as well.
Super Rachel’s journey is hard, and today, it is still hard. I am so proud of her willingness to share her story because we all know that she is not alone in this battle. Super Rachel has a lot of scans coming up, and she is terrified. Before she goes back to the hospital for them, I want her to feel our love and support. I want her to know that we see her strength. That we see her courage. And that we are fighting with her.
Please take a moment to leave a comment below that we will share with her. And let’s keep sweet Rachel’s story in our mind when we are out and about at the grocery store or gas station – we never know the battle that people are fighting inside. We have an opportunity to be kind always.