Callie Is TuTu Cute for Leukemia

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Callie Peck wants to show me something. She’s not sure what to do next. She has already demonstrated her perfect front roll; toes pointed like a gymnast and carefully executed each time. She has also proven her skill at skipping, both forwards and backwards. In between tricks, there have been costume changes – both for Callie and for her companion, her little dog, Bella. To any observer, Callie is the epitome of a joyful, lovely, happy little 4-year-old girl. 

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But if you know what to look for, you can see that there is more to her story. There is the bandage on her back, which peeks out when she does a spider climb, pushing her feet up the wall. It covers the spot where just yesterday the doctors performed a spinal tap. There is the adorable pixie cut hair – noticeably shorter than the curls she wore in the pictures on the wall – a reminder that not long ago her hair was lost, again, due to the effects of the medications.  

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In another 7 months, her treatments will be done. Because she’s so young, it’s likely that she won’t remember much of this journey – but her mother will, and she wants to be sure that Callie can look back and be proud.

This journey – the one they are sharing with us today – began almost 2 years ago. Callie was 2. One Wednesday began with a visit to the doctor, the visit that changed their lives. A diagnosis – that Callie had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Two days later, she had a port put in and her first dose of chemo.

Her mom talks about the shock and the inevitable tears at seeing her child laden with tubes and wires. But she also talks about the decision to find the positive. She talks about her diagnosis being a gift – because Callie’s form of leukemia comes with 26 months of treatment, but a 90% cure rate. She says she approached things with the mindset, “I can do anything for 2 and a half years.”

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To any observer, Callie is the epitome of a joyful, lovely, happy little 4-year-old girl. But if you know what to look for, you can see that there is more to her story.

And they have. In and out of the hospital for treatments, coming home sometimes with 11 different medications that needed to be dosed at specific times throughout the day, they’ve made it work for their family.

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Callie’s two brothers – she calls them “my boys” – have been there for her throughout. It has been a learning experience for them, but again there are positives. As Amber says, they’ve been in hospitals and around sick children enough to accept them as normal kids, beating them at video games in the hospital lounge and treating them as they would any other friend.callie-brothers

Her parents have also found ways to help others facing similar challenges. After a gifted iPad helped them to make it through hours in a hospital bed with a 2 year old they raised money to purchase 10 more for the children’s ward. An upcoming golf tournament is their latest fundraiser, and one that EverydayFamily has happily signed on to sponsor.

With the work of families like the Pecks and organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, we can have more stories like Callie’s – stories of strength, courage, and the happiness that comes from a 4 year old ready to take on anything. 

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To learn more about Callie, see more of her story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VkVnRm30KY&feature=youtu.be

And donate to her LLS team here: http://pages.lightthenight.org/sun/Tampa13/apeckn

To learn more about the golf tournament presented by TuTu Cute for Leukemia, visit the LLS Light the Night Suncoast Chapter here: https://www.facebook.com/LightTheNightWalkSuncoast

To learn more about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit: http://www.lls.org/

To learn more about the Light the Night Walk and how you can get involved, visit:  http://www.lightthenight.org/

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Callie Is TuTu Cute for Leukemia

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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