Believe it or not, it has been five years since Becca was diagnosed for the second time with leukemia, and more than eight since her original diagnosis in 2008. She will be moved to the "survivor clinic" at Cincinnati Children's Hospital this summer, which is a huge milestone for her and the rest of our family. Though we are hesitant to leave the CBDI clinic with familiar doctors and nurses, we welcome the transition to care focused on "survivors" and what this means for Becca.

Cancer has surely changed the path of our family, but since it turned our world upside down, one event has been a beacon of hope each year... the Butterfly Walk and 5K for CancerFree KIDS. We have become close with so many families whose lives have been ripped apart by pediatric cancer, and our hope is that funds raised by this annual event can someday soon make it possible that not one more family is given the devastating news that their child has childhood cancer.

Some of you have joined us every year, and it's been a while since the stars have aligned for others of you to participate in the walk with us. Please consider coming out to celebrate with Becca and our family at the 11th Annual Butterfly Walk & 5K for CancerFree KIDS on Saturday, May 13th, while raising funds to eradicate this horrible monster, pediatric cancer. 

If you cannot join us at Cottell Park in Mason that day (we know it's a super-busy weekend), we hope you will consider making a donation. Even a five dollar donation helps! You can donate online, or if you want to avoid transaction fees, drop your donation (cash or check payable to CancerFree KIDS) in the mail to our family or we can pick it up.

For more information or to register/donate, go to Becca's Believers .

Be sure to list Becca's Believers as the team so that your registration or contribution goes towards our team. Hope you can join us in walking/running to find a cure for pediatric cancer!

Much love and thanks for all of the support all of these years,
Becca, Lily, Trisha and Ethan


4 year bone marrow-versary!

It's been four years since Becca received her hero Matthew's lifesaving marrow, and she honestly couldn't be doing any better! Still can't thank him enough for what he has done for our family...
Courtney (Matthew's fiancee), Becca, and Matthew (Becca's hero/donor) 
at her Little Mermaid, Jr. show last week

As I have often said when slacking on updating this blog, "No news is good news," and it's been a long time since I have updated :).

We have had a wonderful summer so far (in fact, probably the best yet), and it is just flying by! Becca went to the CBDI clinic on Thursday last week for a scheduled visit, and Dr. Grimley (her bone marrow doctor that sees her once a year) gave her an A+. He thought she looked terrific and had no concerns whatsoever about her lab results. She was her true sassy self with Dr. Grimley and the other staff members, and he really seemed to enjoy her personality and how much she has grown. Before we left, nurse Amanda, who gave Becca Matthew's marrow four years ago, stopped in our room. We were a bit surprised that she wanted to see us after the was she was treated that day!!! Luckily, nurse Amanda realized what a traumatic day it was (with Becca's crazy reaction to the meds and the psychotic behavior that followed), and she didn't hold it against us.

Becca and Lily are at Njoyitall Camp this steamy week, after a fun-filled weekend with the Ward cousins.
 Cousin love!
 A much-needed cool down
Too cool!

Other highlights of the summer:
  • spending an AWESOME week in Hilton Head with the Hilsmier family (thank you, Maria, Matt, Austin, Connor, and Emma!) after a few days in Charlotte (thank you, Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill!)
    Carter LOVE!
    More cousins!!!

  • Going to camps -
    Becca absolutely LOVED Camp Invention (way to go Loveland teachers!). She already wants to do it again next year. Both girls had a blast at Nanna B camp (thank you, Becky!), too. Show Choir camp was cut short for Becca due to a case of strep throat, and Lily's soccer camp was not exactly her favorite, but at least she was with her best friend.
    Njoyitall Camp - inside the yurt
    Camp Invention at LIS

  • Spending time with friends

    Can't you just hear the giggle?
  • Performing!
    Cutest sea creature/lagoon animal EVER!

Becca's victim
  • Spending time with in-town family
    Great Nana :)

    Kniskern cousins and cutie pie Bo
  • Celebrating Becca's double digit birthday!
    That was cake #1... there were two more later!
    We still have a few weeks of the summer left, and we plan to jam pack lots more fun into it!


Our favorite time of year

It's coming in less than a month! The Butterfly Walk for CancerFree KIDS (the 10th annual!) is happening on Saturday, May 7th, at Cottell Park in Mason. We have 47 Becca's Believers team members so far, and the donations have started coming in. Hope you can join us for the run (5K and a new 10K this year), walk, or festival. If you cannot make it, any donation would be greatly appreciated! Registration costs and donations go towards pediatric cancer research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and we are praying that someday soon the cure will be found. To join our team or donate, visit:

Thank you!!!


Heart so full

My hot little ragamuffin is the second from the right - the pic I took when I picked her up from Girl Scout camp today

The chirping of birds woke me up this morning, and as I lay in bed thinking about the upcoming day, I wondered if Becca was listening to the same birds at Camp Butterworth. She is (I'm sure) enjoying her first Brownie camp out, and just three years ago, I never thought this would be possible. I have an app called Shoebox that sends me "This week in history" emails occasionally, and recently those photos have truly humbled me. To see how sick Becca looked in 2012 and 2013 (and even 2014 compared to now!) fills me with so much gratitude for her current health. We were in such a deep valley prior to and during her bone marrow transplant, but an outsider looking in at Becca right now would not even know what our little fighter has endured. Constantly singing and dancing (I actually have to make her STOP to brush her teeth!), Becca's joy and sassiness continue to permeate our household.

Let me try to quickly catch you up since last October:

  • Halloween time - 
 Gotta have the Shaw Farm pics... we do it every year
A "pink goth" and witch

Celebrating with Great Nana at the Lodge
  • My grandmother (also pictured above) turned 90 years young in November, and we had an awesome celebration. Family and friends from around the country were able to make it in, and there were lots of smiles all around.
    My Great Aunt Joyce (who just earned her butterfly wings this past week), my Grandma, and Great Aunt Elaine
  • Local Firecrackers performances began in December but the traveling really kicked in and dominated our schedule starting in January with the Bulls game in Chicago. This year was eye-opening for us and challenging for our family to get everyone where they needed to be, but we would not trade the experience for Lily. She has become more responsible with her time, her grades have actually gone up, and she has learned that she LOVES to perform for large crowds. Who would have thunk it?! By far, Lily's favorite performance was UK, but she also enjoyed showing off for Bulls fans, IU, the Pacers, the Army/Navy in Annapolis and the Terrapins of University of Maryland (we were able to sneak in cousin visits), the Crosstown Shootout, and so many others! We feel very fortunate that Lily will continue to jump with the Firecrackers next school year, performing at who-knows-which venues and beginning the filming of the Firecrackers movie.
Lily and her big sis Ellie
  • Becca has continued with DramaKids during the school year, and her final performance will take place next weekend. She looks forward to seeing Drama Mama every Friday afternoon and cannot wait to be "Tilly" in the show. She also auditioned for Peter Pan Jr. a few weeks ago, and will be playing the part of Murphy the Pirate in the production this summer, while her cousin Avery has the lead of Peter Pan in the same play. It will be fun to see them perform together this summer.

 That's Becca with the infamous Drama Mama!
 Becca and her buddy Taylor (oh, and yes, that's Lily in the background)
  • Brownies has been a big hit with Becca this year, as well. The only reason she wanted to do Girl Scouts was to sell the cookies, but she has enjoyed so much more than that.
How could you say "no" to these faces?!

  • Becca's 2nd grade musical took place in March, and my face hurt from smiling by the end of the performance.
Becca absolutely LOVES Mrs. Bogard, and she has had a fabulous year in her 2nd grade class!

Becca's "starring" role

  • We girls decided mid-winter that we were fed up with the cold and dreary weather of Cincinnati. At the end of March, my mom and I took the girls on their first cruise, and they were fans (to say the least)! It definitely recharged our batteries and made the rest of the school year fly by more quickly.
     We were able to hang out with the Ward cousins in Orlando after the cruise for one night!
     Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach was a highlight of the trip
     Nana loves her granddaughters
     Our room had a great balcony and view
     Jamaican "Mama" and the girls
Our room steward was awesome, making the girls fun towel animals
  • Towards the end of the school year, I signed Becca up for jazz class, and she has truly enjoyed learning from Miss Gabby who tells me that Becca is a great "freestyle" dancer. Not sure what this means, but I'm thinking that she is implying Becca has her own style (not surprising). Next fall, she is anticipating joining the hip hop class, which I think will be a blast for her.
  • The Butterfly Walk this year was the BEST EVER! I have never seen Becca happier, and if you were there, you knew why. Not only did she design the shirt for the walk, but Becca's bone marrow donor/hero Matthew and his girlfriend Courtney joined our team for the first time, we had the largest team at the walk (over 100 friends and family members!), Becca's Believers received first place in fundraising, and it was an absolutely beautiful day! Thank you so much to all of you who walked/ran with us or donated to CancerFree KIDS for the Butterfly Walk! Our team raised over $7,300 this year, and since we started doing the walk in 2009, Becca's Believers has raised almost $32,000! All of that money goes toward pediatric cancer research to help find a cure. Wouldn't it be great if we could have a yearly celebration of life, rather than this walk each spring?!
Though I took lots of pics, this is my favorite!

So, as I said in the post title, my heart is so very full! Becca's clinic appointment on Friday was the fastest ever (we were out in 90 minutes, which is unheard of!). Dr. Absalon thought she looked great, her labs were perfect, and he is comfortable moving us to once every six months visits. To go from every four to every six months may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but for us (especially Becca, who gets labs drawn each time prior to our visit), it is HUGE! We are supposed to see Dr. Grimley, Becca's bone marrow doctor this summer, since the end of July will mark three years since her life saving transplant (THANK YOU again, Matthew!!!).  

Driving home from my parents' home this evening with Becca, I once again teared up looking in the rearview mirror as I watched her singing along with the music (yes, I have the mirror focused on her, rather than the cars behind me, since she is so much more entertaining). She just looks so beautiful, as well as happy and healthy, and I feel such gratitude for the gift of her and so much more in my life...

The pic doesn't do her justice, but I snapped it at a stoplight anyway


It's not too late!

One more day to save $5! Please join us this Saturday, May 9th, for the 9th Annual Butterfly Walk and 5K for CancerFree KIDS! In case you weren't aware, Becca designed the t-shirt for the walk this year, and her bone marrow donor Matthew is joining our team. For more information or to register/donate, go to www.butterflywalk.com orhttps://runsignup.com/beccasbelievers2015 . Be sure to list "Becca's Believers" as the team and "Trisha Kniskern" as the captain so that your contribution or registration goes towards our team. Let's continue to celebrate Becca's (and so many others') strength, courage, and resilience while supporting an awesome organization with a critical mission! Also, listen to the Scott Sloan show on WLW tomorrow morning, as Becca is being interviewed with Ellen Flannery, the founder of CancerFree KIDS!

Photos from the walk (and an update on what's new) coming soon...


Believe it or not... six years!

Six years ago yesterday, Becca was first diagnosed with leukemia (ALL – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), and a journey we did not want to take began.  I will not go into details about the dichotomy of emotions I felt yesterday, but I do want to let you all know we are in a really good place right now.  Becca is doing great!  She is absolutely LOVING second grade, she is sassy and healthy, and she is dealing with normal 8-year-old girl drama.  Wednesday is her favorite day of the week, because she has library, share, and early release, and Friday is a close second, because of Drama Kids after school. Her Brownie troop will begin meeting soon, too, which is something she is really anticipating. Best of all, Becca is singing constantly, which means she is feeling terrific!

As far as hospital visits, we are now seeing Becca’s oncologist every three months, and we are visiting the BMT team even less frequently.  Her labs looked stellar the last time we had them drawn, and prior to her November appointment, we will have them taken again. 

I would apologize for not posting to the blog in so long, but as I’ve said before, the less I post, the better, because that means Becca is doing well.  

Insert Glee-like music and rapidly talking voice over saying, "So here's what you missed (since May)..." 
Becca, Aunt Mary, cutie Carter, and Lily - Carter's first swim!

Becca running from Virginia Beach waves (she and cousin Ricky did this for about an hour, after Becca told me she did NOT want to go to the beach that day)

Ricky, Rachel, Becca, and Lily taking a break from the hot sun at the rooftop indoor pool

Ward Cousins!

Eight curly candles on a Barbie cake... how much better can it get?!

Dorothy and Elsa
Hilsmier cousins "hung" with us for a couple of days and a night in the UP :)

 A windy canoe ride with Daddy on Lake Michigamme
Sisters on "the rock"

 2-year post-transplant celebration at Becca's favorite UP restaurant

Kniskern (girl) cousins at the beach
  • The summer flew by, but it started with a trip to Virginia Beach with Nana, along with a stop in Charlotte on the way to visit with Uncle Bill, Aunt Mary, and cousin Carter.
  • Becca turned 8 in July, and her first sleepover party was a success!

  • We headed to the Upper Peninsula (UP) for our yearly family trip after the girls spent a week at Camp N'JoyItAll (surprisingly, Lily was the one who was homesick this year at camp)
 Our favorite pic of Becca at Camp N'JoyItAll this summer

Notice the jumprope around Lily's neck?!

First day of 2nd grade and 5th grade

 Almost positive that the laughs were the result of something Becca said...

 Sweet sister love

 LOVE that laugh, and of course, the smiles!

 Our lovely Lily girl

Our beautiful Becca Boo
  • Lily started doing "open gyms" for her Kings Firecrackers jump rope team this summer, and there were two intense weeks when the movie executives and filming crew came in to begin taking some footage for the Firecrackers movie, but that was NOTHING compared to how much the girls are practicing now! Two hours a day Monday through Thursday, they are usually off Friday night, then 3-4 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. I only drive the carpool once a week, and I am amazed at how much they improve from week to week. If you ever have the chance to see the Firecrackers perform, don't miss it! Oh, and Lily turned ten at the beginning of September... hard to believe how fast she is growing up.
  • As you can see above, we had family photos taken out at Nanna B and Poppa's farm with the Kniskern clan, and it was so much fun!
I think that will have to be all for now, because I need to get to bed and get up in five hours. Feeling grateful for all of you who have kept up with our journey the past six years and have continued to pray for our little fighter and the rest of our family...