Emma Lockwood has gone through all of her fifth grade year at Sequoia School being home schooled since contracting Ewing Sarcoma – a bone cancer – that has demanded endless chemotherapy and multiple surgeries.
The 10-year-old has had more than seven rounds of chemotherapy, 31 radiation treatments and four biopsies, her mother Michele noted. She added that Emma has had two central line surgeries, a bone marrow procedure and dozens of blood and platelet transfusions.
Emma and her mom have had to be ready at a moment’s notice to get into the family Honda Civic for a quick trip to Kaiser Hospital in Oakland when her home blood test shows an irregularity. For the sake of costs, the family turned in their Ford SUV to a Manteca dealership for a car with better gas mileage for their often daily trips to the Bay Area.
“The worst experience is when the pick lines had to come out,” her mom said.
On a daily basis her mother uses the pick line to check the levels of the white and red blood cells and the platelet count. She can’t go to the movies nor have friends over for fear of exposure to another illness. She so badly wants a lap top computer so she can talk with her friends, but with already stretched finances over the past year, that hasn’t been possible.
Emma has been a straight-A student who has been described by teachers and friends as being “so nice and so kind.” The five-day-a-week trip to Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital comes at the worst time of the day with commute traffic being yet another challenge.
Emma is currently on 17 different medications. The family priority for paying their bills is threefold: Mortgage, kids and medicine. And in Emma’s life-saving “medicine” has been deemed their first choice.
Of her support group, Emma’s mom said that perfect strangers have been bringing dinner by to their home.
“I am a good person but I have to do better,” she said in paying her gratitude forward.
She was doing just that when I happened to be in a Manteca shoe store when she walked in with two 7-year-old boys – one was her son – and she was also buying a pair of shoes for the other boy. I had told the boys I appreciated their good behavior in the store and told them their school and their parents should be very proud. They told me they went to Sequoia School as the one boy’s mom walked up. She said she had a 10-year-old daughter who also went to Sequoia but she had been home schooling her for the past year. “She has bone cancer,” the woman confided.
“Is that Emma?” I asked. “Yes,” she said in a surprised reaction that I had recognized the situation.
You see, I had heard about Emma two months ago and it was nothing short of Divine Providence that her mother Michele Lockwood and I should run into each other while I was sitting on a bench in the Famous Footwear store trying on shoes – a store I have never patronized. That led to my doing this story, hoping the readers will understand the young girl’s plight and the family’s frustration as they continue to do all they can fighting for their sweet daughter. Dad, Sean, works at Michael’s Arts and Crafts store in Tracy.
“Every minute of every day the phone rings constantly,” Emma’s mom added. “She continually has a lot of pain in her legs as I am on the phone with the hospital when we’re not there.”
Emma had been totally involved in gymnastics where her coach noted she was having problems in warming up. It was her first real sport she had chosen. That was when the pain was apparent and she stopped gymnastics when she couldn’t get rid of the pain.
“My leg hurts and it won’t go away – I’m quitting gymnastics,” Lockwood remembered her daughter saying. From March of last year to November, she had CT and MRI scans with the cancer not being diagnosed until November after four biopsies and a broken pelvis.
“From March through October she was in excruciating pain and they thought she had a staph infection first,” her mother said. “She was very brave – so brave. She hardly every cries, asking if the procedures are going to make her better.”
Early in February on a Friday morning she rode in an ambulance with her mother to the Oakland Kaiser Children’s Hospital because of a very high fever that had been caused by a severe infection. She was hospitalized until the following Wednesday with six days of chemotherapy to follow.
Students from Sequoia School have been sending her handmade cards and pictures which she loves to read. She is asking for more from her friends. She can be reached through a hospital computer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers at Emma’s school have also been very supportive, wearing black and gold t-shirts asking for others as well to support their “precious” student.
Emma has a Gofundme.com account that will go a long way to help the family as they struggle to help their daughter. If everyone reading this could just put $5 or $10 in the account it would add up to so much in financial help for the family. Go to www.gofundme.com/emma-lockwood-strong-team.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.