CaringBridge Is Only Possible With Your Support

Honor Juliana with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge.

Make Your Donation Today >>

Juliana’s Story

Juliana was diagnosed with stage 3, group 3 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma on 3/7/07. She had 6 weeks of radiation therapy and 14 rounds of chemotherapy. Julie relapsed on 3/17/11 and received another 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 5 more weeks of radiation therapy. Julie relapsed a second time on 6/5/12 and received 12 more rounds of chemotherapy and 10 more weeks of radiation therapy. She relapsed a third time 3/17/14 and after surgery that removed 90% of the new tumor had five more weeks of radiation therapy and four more rounds of chemotherapy. She was on maintenance chemotherapy when she relapsed a fourth time on 7/12/15. Juliana is currently getting more chemotherapy. Please keep Julie in your prayers!

Until Sunday, February 18, 2007 we had no idea there was anything wrong with our beautiful, happy, confident five-year-old daughter. She came into our room that morning complaining about a "bump" under her right arm. The bump turned out to be a swollen lymph node and we discovered the next day at the pediatrician's office that she also had a tumor on her right forearm. After x-rays and an MRI, we received that awful call from the doctor--it appeared the tumor was cancerous and that it had matastisized to the lymph node. The next two weeks went by in a blur as we drove back and forth each day to the hospital for exams, blood work, numerous scans, a biopsy and surgery. Julie's treatment will include weekly chemotherapy for 42 weeks, daily radiation for six weeks and possibly more surgery to remove the tumor after is shrinks.

We adopted Julie from Minsk, Belarus on August 26, 2003 when she was 20 months old. We believe that God placed her in our family for a reason. Had she remained in the orphanage in Belarus, she would not have received treatment for her cancer. Instead, God allowed her to be adopted into an American family where some of the best medical care in the world is within driving distance and surrounded her with many, many loving, caring family members and friends.

Latest Journal Update

Five Rounds Down and Transplant News

It's been over a month since I last updated Juliana's site and she's been very busy. She had her fourth round of chemo the week of September 28th-October 2nd. Her fifth round had to be delayed a week because her blood cell counts were not high enough so she received round five last week (October 26th-30th). She has been feeling worse with each additional round of chemo, her stomach hurts for several weeks afterwards and she has diarrhea. I am now giving her morphine every 12 hours to reduce the stomach pain enough for her to eat (she only weighed 55 pounds at her exam today), She has also been needing a couple of blood/platelet transfusions after each round of chemo. She was only supposed to get five rounds of this chemo cocktail (vincristine, irinotecan and temozolomide) before being admitted for more (different) chemo in preparation for the bone marrow transplant, however, after five weeks of working with the Belarusian government, we found out last week that they will not even allow a mouth swab to leave their country so we can't test Juliana's birth mother.

We have been working with Johns Hopkins to come up with another plan. Since Belarus will not allow blood out of the country and will not allow her birth mother to travel to Poland, we are going to have to pay for her to come to the U.S. (the U.S. has already issued her a medical VISA). Hopkins has agreed to harvest her bone marrow and freeze it to make her stay here shorter (and less costly for us) so we now have a tentative schedule. Juliana will get one more round of chemo at Sinai Hospital the week of November 23rd-28th (she will get the first three days outpatient, have Thanksgiving Day off at home then get admitted Friday-Saturday for the last two days since the outpatient clinic is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday) then she will have tests done (PET/CT scan, echocardiogram, EKG, blood work and bone marrow biopsy) the first week of December. Her birth mother, Irina, will arrive December 6th and have testing done on December 7th then (assuming she is a match) will have the procedure to harvest her bone marrow on December 14th. Irina will have a follow-up exam the next day and if everything is good will return to Belarus the 17th or 18th. Juliana will be admitted to Johns Hopkins December 29th for a week of chemotherapy and total body radiation therapy. Juliana will get her bone marrow transplant on January 5th and then remain in the hospital until her white blood cell counts begin to recover and stabilize. We'll them move to an apartment close to the hospital and stay there for approximately another two months.

Please pray that Juliana is able to eat and gain weight, grace for her to get through another round of this chemo, that her birth mother is a match and that everything (including finances to pay for all of the travel expenses, hotel, meals, etc.) works out for the bone marrow transplant.
25 people hearted this



Aixa Serrano
By Aixa Serrano
Juliana, I'm struggling with cancer, too, sweetheart. We can beat this...I know we can. You've got to have faith. Fight for your life, darling. And you can contact me on Facebook if you'd like to ever talk. That helps too. Love you, darling girl...❤️
sarah nuborne
By Sarah Nuborne
Hi Juliana,
I am sorry that you are having all the physical challenges with the cancer. That stinks. I am so glad that you have Jesus, your mom and family and friends around you. You are so loved! I am praying for you as you take the next steps in fighting the cancer. I know at times you must get frustrated especially when you are away from home for so long. I will pray that you won't miss home quite so much. I am glad that I get to pray for you. Isn't it so cool that when we have Jesus in our hearts that we are all family, sisters in Jesus? I don't have children but I have two goddaughters who are 5 and 9. I also get to care for a 4 year old little boy and a 1 1/2 year old little girl. Keeva, the little girl, loves to climb! She climbs everything! She also loves letters, especially E, B, and O. My oldest goddaughter, Ella, loves music and making rubber band bracelets. She also loves to paint.

It is so awesome how determined you are even when you don't feel good. God bless you.

I will keep praying for you!
Love in Jesus, Miss Sarah (Nuborne)
Nick Gouzoulis
By Nick Gouzoulis
My prayers are with you Juliana.
Shirley Bennett
By Shirley Bennett
Margaret Scherer
By Margaret
PRAYING. " With God, all things are possible. " " I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. "

May our Gracious Heavenly Father visit all of you, according to your needs
Bonnie Ermilio
By Bonnie Ermilio
I'm sending a BUNCH of prayers for Juliana to be able to eat and gain some weight, for her to get through another round of chemo and that her birth mother is a match! I'm praying that everything works out for the bone marrow transplant! Juliana is a sweetheart! I pray everything goes right.
Christy Anderson
By Christy Anderson — last edited
Dear god please save Julie please care her from cancer she been though way to much since 2007 and please make her birth mom a Mach for the transplant and everything will go well and that she will gain weight

thank u 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Amanda Gilliams
By Amanda Gilliams
My prayers to our Creator are said--that all of these complexities will move smoothly, and most especially for Juliana. I pray that she is able to safely weather this process, as she is a strong, bright and beautiful soul. May she and your family feel His comfort and bright blessings in the weeks ahead.
Kathryn Deiters
By Kathryn Deiters
I've been praying for Juliana everyday. May the Lord take care of all these details. I pray for peace, strength and courage for all of you! with love, Kathryn
Lauren Fattig
By Carla
I hope everything goes well. I assume you'll allow Julianna and Kristina to meet their birth mother. Their birth mother is a hero for being willing to do this, I'm sure its the least you could do for her.