What is that spotted in Gundersen’s Pediatric Oncology Unit? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s Superhero Cara!
“We started putting her in superhero costumes when we go to treatments because chemo can’t keep a superhero down,” say Rebecca and Erin, parents of 2-year-old Cara. Superhero Cara is battling one of the evilest villains: cancer!
But Cara and her family has a league of supporters helping her fight this medical evildoer. There’s a team of Gundersen pediatric specialists and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is important in our community because it helps take some of the burden off the family’s shoulders and allow them to give all their focus and attention on their child,” says Rebecca.
In 2019, Cara was diagnosed with optic pathway gliomas—tumors in and around the optic nerves, affecting her vision. If that weren’t enough, there have been bumps along the road in her treatment. She developed neutropenia, a condition when her white blood cells—which help the body fight infection—often drop too low for chemotherapy. Cara also has seizures.
All this means frequent trips to Gundersen for treatments and tests. CMN Hospitals has stepped in to provide the family with gas and meal vouchers. CMN Hospitals also supplies toys, games, crafts, wagons and more to Gundersen’s Pediatric Cancer Center so kids, like Cara, have fun things to do to distract them while undergoing cancer treatments.
“As parents of a child with cancer, we want to do everything we can to take away Cara’s pain and fear. While Cara’s tumors are stable—and stable results are good— we continue to hope for more,” Rebecca says.
Her mom says Cara is strong, spunky and likes to dance and run around the oncology floor saying hi to everyone. Just what you might expect from a 2-year-old superhero.