In Their Own Words: Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Warriors

Blood counts, transplants, metastases. For the physicians and researchers at our Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, these words are significant in their ongoing fight against pediatric cancers and blood disorders.

But for the kids under their care, the words that matter most are the ones that lift their spirits, instill confidence and help them get through another day.

We asked our patients—and for the littlest ones, their parents—to choose a word that describes their personal journey with cancer and sickle cell disease. Words like brave, fearless and strong are ones they chose to define themselves as they fight to overcome these complex diseases.

Through sharing their words, we shed light on their courage and resilience, and recognize their fierce spirits during the fight of their lives. Along with their family and friends, we join their army of relentless supporters, behind them every step of the way.

Caroline Brain Tumor Fighter 

Caroline, 4-year-old brain tumor warrior

“Hope is the expectation and desire for something to happen. Hope is trust. We expect and desire for Caroline to beat cancer, and we trust that Aflac Cancer Center is the best place, leading our way through the storm of cancer–and bringing us so much hope.” –Jamie, Caroline’s mom

Emmy Sickle Cell Disease Fighter 

Emmy, 8-year old sickle cell disease fighter

“Her first admission was at only 5 weeks old. I will never forget seeing her tiny little body as our amazing nurses tried to find a useable vein. Emmy blows us away with her desire to choose joy and bravery in the midst of pain that could take down grown men. She is the epitome of brave.” – Courtney, Emmy’s mom

Lana Neuroblastoma Fighter 

Lana, 11-year-old neuroblastoma conqueror

“Cancer did not get the best of me, and it wasn’t discouraging. Throughout the journey, I learned how it empowered not only me, but so many other people in my life. It was a chain reaction that inspired others to push through difficult times, set goals and appreciate the small things.” – Lana

Lana is the daughter of Blackberry Smoke drummer Brit Turner. To date, the band has raised more than $150,000 for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to fight pediatric cancer. This September, they’re matching up to another $50,000 for donations submitted here.

Luke Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Fighter 

Luke, 15-year-old Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma hero

“Fear is a liar! It steals your joy and happiness. Throughout my journey, I was never afraid of cancer. I put my faith in God and my trust in my Aflac family to administer a treatment plan that suited my needs. On day one, I decided fear was not an option.” – Luke

DaJean Sickle Cell Disease Fighter

DaJean, 15-year-old sickle cell disease challenger

“Even though he deals with pain in his everyday life, DaJean manages to remain hopeful. He pushes through every pain crisis like a champ and doesn’t let his illness stop him from living the best life he can live. He still goes outside to play basketball, swim and hang out with his friends. He maintains his heart of gold by always being thoughtful of everyone around him. DaJean is living strength.” – Ebony, DaJean’s mom