Welcome to Team Lina!
Lina Marie Palethorpe was born October 20, 2010. At 6 weeks of age she was diagnosed with an intermediate risk, stage 2, para-spinal Neuroblastoma tumour with excellent prognosis. The tumour was causing kidney displacement and had already grown into the spinal column causing nerve root compression. Lina underwent initial rounds of chemotherapy and steroid treatment, which had great success in reducing the size of the tumour. Placed on observation, with the anticipation of the tumour continuing to shrink, Lina rejoined her Big Sister Frieda at home and the family enjoyed their new "normalcy" as they continued to grow. However, after lying dormant for 6 months, a routine MRI discovered that Lina's tumour had regrown and in fact had become bigger than before. And with that Lina went back in for more chemotherapy in an attempt to fight back.
Lina completed 8 rounds of chemotherapy with no significant change to the tumour. With Lina’s tumour not reacting to the treatment as it was supposed to her case got more complicated and we got second opinions from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in NY and from Seattle Children’s Hospital. Both neuroblastoma specialized medical teams agreed with the next step being surgery. At the same time we found out that Lina’s original tumor sample tested positive for a chromosomal abnormality called LOH 11q23 unbalanced which is linked to relapse. Being LOH unbalanced puts Lina in a very rare subgroup. We were told that there are not enough cases worldwide to conduct a case study, so there is uncertainty with the future treatment plans. That being said, Lina is at this point still given a good prognosis.
After Round 8 we traveled to Toronto for surgery but progression of her disease was detected so we flew home to BC to start on a new Chemo protocol in an attempt to shrink the tumour. Unfortunately Lina progressed further while on chemo. She had 11 rounds of chemo to this day.
Due to Lina’s neuroblastoma being intra and paraspinal which complicates the surgery Lina will undergo surgery at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, where there are neuroblastoma specialists. Depending on the biopsy results of the resected tumour Lina may undergo a second surgery and/or start a new protocol of chemo therapy and radiation.
If you ask us how Lina is doing, the answer is “Great!” She does not walk, she runs. She is chatty and cheeky, she is loud and happy, she is a snuggler and joker, she is not a good listener and she climbs on everything, she is very determined and a fighter, she adores her older sister Frieda and her stuffed bunny Mimi is never away from her side. Right now her real obsession however is riding her bike, her first word in the morning is “bike” and the last word at night is “bike”.
Lina is a normal toddler who loves life. We as a family try to stay positive and cherish each day. Lina has a long road ahead of her to beat this cancer and we will walk this road with her one step at the time.
We would like to invite you to walk this journey with us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your thoughts, prayers, and generosity.
UPDATE: Lina had a very successful tumour resection in Toronto on September 6th. The surgeons were able to remove 95% of the tumour. She is recovering well and we are starting with lots and lots of physiotherapy. Our new weapon to beat the beast is now 13-cis-retinoic acid. Lina will receive 6 rounds and we will see what comes after.
You can also follow Lina's story on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TeamLina