#SaveRaelyn: Chad Qualls and Astros Support Young Girl’s Battle with Cancer
Anybody in the Astros’ clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon before the team’s game against the A’s noticed several Astros players, including Jose Altuve, Dexter Fowler, Chad Qualls, Jon Singleton, Marwin Gonzalez and Marc Krauss, with hot pink t-shirts with the simple message across the front: “Save Raelyn.”
Qualls called me over to see how we could share the story of Raelyn Cutbirth, an adorable 4-year old girl suffering from Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer of the soft tissue. Raelyn’s mother is friends with his wife, Tara.
“I want to raise awareness for that rare form of cancer,” Qualls said. “And for a little girl that’s in pain right now.”
Here is Raelyn’s story (warning: keep the Kleenex close by).
Raelyn Cutbirth is a sweet, kind, caring little girl who charms just about everybody who meets her. On July 19, 2012, two-year-old Raelyn was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer of the soft tissue. For fifty-four weeks, Raelyn underwent chemotherapy and radiation. On June 6, 2013, it looked like she had fought off the disease. Raelyn’s scans showed no evidence of disease. However, because of the uncertainty of Rhabdomyosarcoma, Raelyn’s cancer could not be considered in remission until she remained symptom-free for five years.
On June 16, 2014, just days before her 4th birthday, Raelyn had her twelve-month check up. Her routine scans showed that the cancer had returned. Because Rhabdomyosarcoma is so rare, the doctors needed more resources to effectively treat the cancer. The doctors gave Raelyn a 10-20 percent chance of survival.
Despite this devastating news, Raelyn’s family refused to give up. On June 27, 2014, Raelyn started chemotherapy again to fight her cancer. However, because she received the maximum dose of radiation during her first round of treatment, she will not be able to get radiation treatment this time.
On July 17, the family received the devastating news that the tumor continued to grow and protruded inside Raelyn’s mouth, through the skin. The doctors have stopped chemotherapy because it was no longer working. Raelyn’s doctor’s decided to give her 3 1/2 weeks of radiation, strictly for palliative care.
As of August 4, 2014, Raelyn’s doctors discontinued radiation because it was not working. The tumor continued to grow quickly, and nothing can stop it. Raelyn’s parents were informed that Raelyn no longer has viable medical options and she has been released to hospice care. Her parents want her to enjoy as many moments as she can. No child should ever have to endure the horrible effects of cancer and the illness the treatments cause.
A Facebook page has been set up chronicling Raelyn’s battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma. https://www.facebook.com/SaveRaelyn/info.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help the family pay for medical expenses accrued during this difficult time. Donations are accepted: http://www.gofundme.com/aqngwg.
Friends and family have organized a fundraiser on September 14 at the Cypress Saloon in Cypress, TX. Details are available on the Save Raelyn Facebook page.
We hope this post can help spread the word about this rare form of cancer and this little girl’s fight. Stay strong, Raelyn. The Astros will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.