Jane Anna was born on May 5, 2014. At her two-week check-up, the family pediatrician, Dr. Jane Jones, heard a heart murmur. Dr. Jones referred Jane Anna to the pediatric cardiology unit at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger for further evaluation. Following this visit on July 9, a resident informed Jane Anna’s parents, “Your daughter’s heart is fine, but there is a suspicious mass on the chest x-ray that looks like neuroblastoma (a cancer often found in the adrenal glands), and we need to get an immediate CT scan to further evaluate.” Jane Anna’s mom, Simrall, said, “No words can describe a parent being told their child has cancer. From that moment forward, it was game on, and we started the fight.”
They immediately met with a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Curtis Koontz and a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Dr. Meghann McManus. “They were fabulous and we felt like we were in good hands,” says Simrall. The next day, July 10th, Dr. Koontz successfully removed a sample of the tumor for testing. The tissue was sent off for pathology and test results indicated it was a “good” kind of neuroblastoma. It was low-risk and at a favorable stage that did not need chemotherapy or radiation – only monitoring every three months with CT scans and lab work.
Life went on, and Jane Anna came back on Oct 9th for her follow-up CT scan. This time the results were not clear and the tumor was not behaving like it was supposed to. The team at Children’s then placed a “port” (a catheter that makes taking medicine easier) and immediately started chemotherapy.
After four rounds of chemo, countless shots, clinic visits, hospital admissions, CT scans, MIBG scans, an MRI, blood products, nausea, hair loss, immune system weakness, and more – Jane Anna was declared disease-free in January 2015. She celebrated with a “No More Chemo” party in the clinic. “A miracle and many prayers answered,“ Simrall recalls. “Jane Anna never quit smiling despite what she was going through. This little girl is a warrior. She has taught us to never give up! Today she is a happy, healthy, perfect little angel-toddler that we all love and adore.”
She added, “We are forever grateful for all our physicians; Dr. Meghann McManus, Dr. Curtis Koontz, Dr. Jane Jones, Dr. Peter Boehm, Jr., Dr. Steve Quardfordt, and Dr. Jason Zurawick. Plus, the countless anesthesiology and radiology staff, CRNAs, floor nurses, PICU physicians and nurses, clinic nurses and staff, outpatient surgery nurses and staff, valet parking attendants – and the endless list of people who cared for us. Children’s Hospital at Erlanger is a fabulous place and we are blessed. I cannot wait to see the new Children’s at Erlanger and all that it will have to offer ‘our littles’ and their families!”