(Story courtesy of Red Cross) John and Tammy Carver adopted Juliana in August 2003 when she was just 20 months old. She was one of six children adopted by the Carver’s from orphanages in Russia and Belarus. Until Feb. 18, 2007, John and Tammy had no idea anything was wrong with their beautiful, happy, confident 5-year-old daughter.
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Juliana’s parents discovered a bump under her right arm. They took her to her pediatrician, where they learned the bump was a swollen lymph node and she also had a tumor on her right forearm. After X-rays and an MRI, the Carver’s received the awful call from the doctor – it appeared the tumor was cancerous and that it had metastasized to the lymph node. Juliana was diagnosed with stage 3, group 3, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma – an aggressive soft tissue cancer that often starts in the torso, arms or legs. Her treatment included weekly chemotherapy for 42 weeks, daily radiation for six weeks and two surgical procedures.
The Carver’s thought Juliana had beaten the cancer. But, in March 2011, the cancer returned, and Juliana endured another 36 weeks of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation. Again, the Carver’s hoped the cancer was gone, but Juliana relapsed a second time on June 6, 2012. This time, the doctors found a compressed tumor pushing against her vena cava, the large
vein that returns blood to the heart from the head, neck, limbs and lower part of the body. They also discovered a chest tumor near Juliana’s aorta. She went through 36 more weeks of chemo and radiation therapy.
Juliana is known around the world for her courage in fighting this disease. Juliana is battling cancer for the fourth time and has received about 90 blood and platelet transfusions since 2007
“I’m not a giver-upper…whining is for babies,” says Juliana, who is currently battling cancer for the fourth time. Blood recipient.