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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 two more rounds of chemotherapy. She is now on oral chemotherapy and will remain on it for the foreseeable future. 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


Juliana has been doing well over the last few weeks, but on Friday evening her right upper arm started hurting. It quickly started swelling and was red and hot to the touch which meant she had cellulitis--again. I called her oncologist and he agreed to call in a prescription for antibiotics so she didn't have to go to the emergency room. It gradually got better over the weekend and is now just a little swollen. Julie saw her oncologist and a podiatrist yesterday at the hospital. She had her port flushed and her counts were all good, but she needs to go back to the oncologist next week so he can check her arm and make sure the cellulitis has completely healed. Apparently this is going to be an ongoing problem because of the radiation therapy she received to the lymph nodes under her right arm when she was five years old. Julie also saw a podiatrist because she now has a bunion on her left foot that's been hurting. The podiatrist took a bunch of x-rays of both feet and then gave us the good news and the bad news. The good news is Juliana's growth plates in her feet and ankles are still open so she's not finished growing (this made Julie VERY happy because she's only 4'6" and really wants to grow taller), however, because her feet haven't finished growing she can't have surgery yet on the bunion. She also has fallen arches in both feet so she's going to have to wear shoes with arch supports and I need to try finding her wide width shoes (in a kid's 3 or ladies 5). He also said the bunions will get worse as her feet grow. Today Juliana saw her ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Her vision is nearly the same as last year and everything looks good with her right eye!

Juliana has been busy finishing our home school year along with attending events for Giant Foods fund raiser and a Red Cross blood drive done in her honor. She has two more events coming up next week--another for Giant and one for Children's Cancer Foundation. We opened Julie's pool and she has been swimming a couple times already (in some VERY cold water). We were given Hershey Park tickets (from Casey Cares Foundation) and are planning to go next Wednesday. Julie is also counting down the days until vacation--we will be going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina June 13-20 thanks to the Cool Kids Campaign who is letting us use their condo for free.

Julie is still taking daily oral cyclophosphamide and etoposide and getting mistletoe injections three days a week. She will be getting her next round of IV chemo in July.
17 people hearted this



Amy Finkelstein
By Amy from Arizonia
I am sure that you have read this a million times. Your daughter is absolutely amazing and strong. She is such an inspiration.
ashley harless
By Ashley Harless- Force 3 in Support of CCF
Can't wait to see you at the Crushin Cancer Crab Feast Juliana! I have a special gift for you!
See you tomorrow!
zac zakaria
By zac zakaria — last edited
this is the website in case you are convinced to get her the graviola
Bonnie Ermilio
By Bonnie Ermilio
Thank you very much for the update

Thank you very much for the update! Most of it seems pretty good for sweet Juliana. I hope all of you have a wonderful time on your vacation.
Please tell Juliana she is in my thoughts and I'm sending LOTS of hugs and prayers to her.

Suzanne Hirtle
By Suzanne Hirtle
Juliana, Brrr, I don't know if I would be ready for the pool. You are a role model of what it means to be brave. The arch supports will help your foot feel better. i know, I wear them. Maybe you could have an extra pillow area made for the bunion ,for now.
Claudia Ketcham
Juliana, you one strong young lady! My prayers are still with you.😃💜