The Heartbreak of Pediatric Cancer: Parents Share their Pictures and Stories

Malina Cole: Doctors told her parents that she was just being "stubborn"

Sometimes, pediatric cancer can be overlooked by doctors, which harms the child’s survival chances with each passing day the disease is left untreated. Malina Cole and her family know this frustration all too well: as a toddler, Malina had been developing normally, then, gradually, she stopped walking. Her parents took her to the pediatrician as well as the emergency room multiple times, but to no avail; they were told she was simply being stubborn.

An X-ray during one ER visit revealed what looked like a fracture in Malina’s leg, and she was sent home in a cast. However, the orthopedist she was referred to suspected it to be something else, and after ordering an MRI, they discovered a mass on the girl’s spine that was pushing on her nerves and cutting off all function from the waist down. Malina was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of blood and tissue cancer. Despite the frustration of repeated medical dismissals, and after undergoing additional surgeries and cancer treatments, Malina managed to beat the disease; she is now five years old and living cancer-free!

Photo: Malina Cole