What started out as a simple fall in gym class forever changed the Wetheral family’s life. When Sadie’s bump wouldn’t heal, the doctors ordered more tests. Then came the diagnosis – Osteosarcoma – a tumor on the femur bone. This 8 year-old girl with a huge smile on her face was about to start a long year of treatments and uncertainty, and at the end of it that smile still remains, stronger than ever.
Her treatment was at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai. Dr. Joseph Wiley and Dr. Albert Aboulafia were her primary doctors. Both have been with Sadie and her family the entire time. She has grown close to both doctors throughout her treatment. Dr. Wiley always puts Sadie at ease and can make her smile. Dr. Aboulafia conducted her surgery and did a fantastic job at calming her anxiety. Sadie received chemo – an intense process of finding the right medicine, and then surgery to replace her femur bone with a rod. This rod grows with Sadie, so she is able to walk normally, and eventually the rod will be replaced when she has stopped growing.
The Wetheral family is so thankful and appreciative of the excellent care Sadie received, but more importantly, the way in which the staff included the whole family in the process. Her younger brother, Conrad, was treated as special as Sadie. When Sadie got presents for finishing her chemo, Conrad got presents too. The nurses, doctors and staff have become a part of Sadie’s adolescence. She lost her tooth in the playroom and was visited by the tooth fairy in the hospital, and has begged her parents to stay at the hospital when her chemo was completed. She and Dr. Jason Fixler tease each other when she comes back to the hospital, and Dr. Yoram Unguru has allowed Sadie to draw on his face before treatment. Every single caregiver the family has encountered has been wonderful and a part of their family.
On June 11, 2013 Sadie turned 9, and in July 2013 she finished her chemo treatment. Her scans are clear and she will continue to be scanned every 3 months. The family recently went to Hershey Park to celebrate. Sadie is in the fourth grade and loves recess, lunch and art. Her family is forever grateful for the care Sinai’s Children’s Hospital provided and the grace and strength with which Sadie has fought her illness. According to her mother, Chrissy, Sadie is stronger than she has been, but this whole experience has taught the family an important lesson – the little things don’t matter, and to value each other each and every day. And talking to the spunky, fun-loving 9-year old you can see a huge smile and the will and determination to stay strong.