3-year-old girl almost cancer free

Posted at 12:15 AM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 00:17:07-04

Giana Gude is three-years-old.  She loves to play, and Frozen is one of her favorite movies.        

She's also in remission for cancer.  It all started with a rash three months before her second birthday.

"We took pictures of it and sent it to our pediatrician, and said is this something that can be contagious, should we go to swim class?  And after a while she said you should go to the emergency room,” Giana’s mom, Rita Melvin said.

After getting blood work done, the family was sent to Johns Hopkins.  At the hospital, Giana went through more tests, and a lot of waiting.  But they finally had a diagnosis.  Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a quick moving blood cancer is common for children.  Giana started chemotherapy immediately.

"The idea is that in 29 days, that's the first cycle, is that she should be in remission, so the cancer should be gone,” Dad Jacob Gude said.  “But the treatment lasts 2.5 years because that's what they know will keep it gone."

So even though Giana is technically in remission, she's also still in treatment.  Right now she gets oral chemotherapy at home, and every three months heads to the hospital for chemo.

Giana's final treatment is set for October.

"I always want to look at the positive side, but there's the hard reality that it could come back regardless of all the treatment," said Rita.

Jacob and Rita say Giana is on meds designed for adults, and according to cancer organizations, only 4 percent of federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research.

While it looks like Giana's story will have a happy ending, that's not the case for all kids.  And more research could mean breakthroughs for so many families.

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