Clinic Day #41

October 6, 2010

Seems like I’ll never really understand counts. Tanner’s neutraphils were at 1,100 today, which is the low side of where they want them (1,000 to 1,500). But, her monocytes were very strong and they eventually become neutraphils, so they assumed she was about to go up to about 1,300. So they raised her chemo. Huh?

I’m going to be surprised if this little chemo bump doesn’t mean Tanner has to be pulled out of school for a month. Her counts do not recover quickly these days. It will be a devastating set back for her if it happens.

All her other counts looked great. Her hemoglobin and red counts have been very strong lately, which equals lots of energy and means she has been feeling pretty good.

The Tennessean ran a very cool article on Tanner’s lemonade stands today. Tanner took a copy into school to show her classmates. I’m hoping it results in more donations to Team Tanner. Click here to see a copy of the article LLS_Tennessean_Oct. 6

Light the Night is tomorrow night. We are ready!


A Very Lucky Girl

September 27, 2010

Good grief! What a Sunday! The Lord’s Day… a day for worship, for fellowship, for community, for putting others before yourself. Thirty kids at Bethlehem United Methodist Church did just that on Sunday. They raised $2,400 for Team Tanner by baking and pounding the pavement, Light the Night style.

We arrived at church on Sunday morning in time to set up Tanner’s lemonade stand across from the kids’ bake sale and sold after early service and before late service. In a couple of hours, together, we made more than $1,000, thanks to the generosity of our congregation, people who have already shown us immeasurable kindness.

Then, Sunday night, we went back for the kids’ Light the Night Walk. They started in the gym and ended up outside running and walking around the parking lot. Preschoolers through 5th graders… kids who asked their classmates at school to bring in their change for Tanner… kids who went door to door in their neighborhood, sharing Tanner’s story and asking for help. At the end of the walk, they took their money, which they had folded up in bandannas and carried with them, and dumped it happily, one by one, into a green box. Tanner and I watched in disbelief as it piled up… $1,200 worth, collected by children just to help a friend.

It was a triumphant night. One in which kids dealt a blow to the type of cancer that makes up ¼ of all childhood cancers. Imagine if we were able to find a real cure for leukemia? One quarter of all childhood cancer would disappear in one fell swoop. So fitting that kids should play a role in that. I was so proud of them and so humbled by their enthusiasm and dedication to helping their friend.

But, the night wasn’t over. John took Jake home to go to bed, but Tanner and I headed to Rally Mania, the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research concert at the Factory in Franklin. Along with Tanner’s friend, Madelyn, and two other little girls, Tanner was a Rally Rock N’ Roll Princess. After dancing and singing for an hour or so, they brought the girls up on stage, each escorted by a teenage boy who was also a cancer survivor. As the crowd cheered and clapped, they presented the girls with pink guitars, signed by all the artists who participated in the concert, including Eddie Money, Kix Brooks, Ashley Cleveland and Jars of Clay. Tanner was beyond surprised and has been “writing” songs on it all afternoon today. We danced and sang until the very end and Eddie Money brought Tanner and another Rally Princess up on stage with him. Then he kissed Tanner’s hand and called her an “Angel.” We had so much fun and she felt so special.

That's Eddie Money pointing at Tanner!

On the way out of the concert, carrying the pink guitar in a big cardboard box, I told Tanner I thought she was a pretty lucky girl. It sounded odd as it came out of my mouth, considering what she has been through and still has on her plate, but it felt right anyway. I told her that her having leukemia had given us the ability to see the fullness of peoples’ kindness, their wonderful way of reaching out to help when we needed it most. She agreed and said, “I think a lot of people love me.”

So, now Team Tanner stands at $14,600… a number I never dreamed to reach.


Clinic Day #40

September 8, 2010

Today was Tanner’s monthly clinic visit for Vincristine and counts. Her neutraphil counts were about where we expected them after having raised her chemo two weeks ago to 75% — 1,500, which is the high side of where they like them to be. If they are still up next month, they will raise her chemo again. I’m hoping that’s not the case as the last 2 or 3 times they have tried to raise her methotrexate level to 100%, her counts have crashed and it takes 3-4 weeks for them to come back up above 1,000. That would mean her missing a lot of school and be so disheartening for her. She’s doing so well.

It was the fastest clinic visit we have ever had. We were in an out in 1 ½ hours thanks to a new method of ordering chemo. Love Vanderbilt. She was back at school in time for lunch.

The weather cooperated enough for us to have a very successful lemonade stand! We don’t have an official count yet, because we have lots of coins to count, but we raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $170!!! Wow! She is so excited and can’t wait to tell Corinne at school tomorrow. Thanks to Corinne, Laurel and Ashley for being our lemonade stand partners.

We had some special visitors at our lemonade stand – Madelyn and her mom, Amy, and brother, Hudson! Madelyn is a little four-year-old girl who lives in our neighborhood and also has ALL. It was fun to see them and always great to be able to chat with Amy.

Started another 5-day pulse of steroids tonight. She is on the same increased dosage that she had such a hard time with last month. I hope she can hold it together enough to make it to her Alice in Wonderland rehearsal on Friday night. She has been counting the days down until this first rehearsal for two weeks.

Thanks to all the sweet former neighbors who were so generous to Tanner’s Lemonade for Leukemia stand today. We miss y’all!


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 7, 2010

Every time I sat down today to write a post, I felt scattered… pulled in lots of directions. Should I write about this… or that? I feel scattered for a really good reason – there are lots of exciting things going on.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Which means we are busy with activities designed to raise awareness and raise money to help end childhood cancer.

Did you know that research dollars designated for Childhood Cancer account for less than 2% of all cancer research dollars annually? This, despite the fact that gains made in treating children with cancer directly benefit adults (the opposite is not true). Chemotherapy was developed for children and tested first on children. When childhood cancer research is underfunded, not only do children suffer, but adults suffer.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer. It is the type that Tanner has, and thanks to those who have funded research in the past, and those who have participated in clinical trials, Tanner’s prognosis is good. In 1960, someone with ALL had an 10% chance of survival, today it’s 80%. Tanner’s chances are even better, thanks to the particular type of ALL she has and her individual risk factors.

Here’s the problem, though. The levels of chemo they give are as toxic as the kids can stand. They can’t just give more to make 80% become 100%. There’s no where to go. We need new therapies, hopefully kinder and quicker therapies.

So, we’re committing to everything that we possibly can this month. Any way we can help raise awareness or money, we’re doing it.

For example, Tanner is now officially a Rally Kid for the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. Her picture and story appear on their web site at

It’s sobering to me to see her photo among all those stories of battling children. It seems a little too real. Tanner will also be a Rally Rock Princess (along with some other little girls with cancer) at the Rally Mania concert on September 26 at 5 pm at Carnton Plantation. The headliner is Eddie Money with special guest appearances from Kix Brooks, Jars of Clay, Ashley Cleveland, Jordan Pruitt from High School Musical, and many more. It’s a great place to bring a picnic and watch the concert. You can buy tickets at online at or at the gate the day of.

Last year's Lemonade for Leukemia stand raised $259!

I’ll post in the coming days about other fun opportunities to help this month. But, I do want to dedicate a little space to our most important event of the month… Tanner’s lemonade sale tomorrow!!! Tanner and her friend, Corinne, will be holding a lemonade stand tomorrow from about 4 pm to 5:30 or 6 pm in Moore’s Landing subdivision off of Lewisburg Pike in Franklin. Come by if you’re in the area and buy some lemonade from the girls. They’re donating all the money to Team Tanner.

Speaking of Team Tanner… oh my gosh! It has been just 2 weeks and five days since I first posted about our efforts to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk on October 7. Our goal is $10,000. To date, we have raised more than $7,000. Really. We are humbled beyond humble and can’t thank everyone enough for such a great start to our campaign. People have been so amazing. Even the kids at our church are planning a Light the Night walk of their own and getting pledges for Team Tanner. They’re also having a bake sale and Tanner is doing a lemonade stand between services. If you still want to donate go to

I always say if one good thing comes out of this whole mess, it’s a firm belief in the goodness of people.


P.S. I have shamelessly plagiarized my childhood cancer statistics and info from my friend, Larisa. She, obviously, is much better read than I. I know she won’t care if I plagiarize as long as it makes a difference. She has as much at stake as I do.

Join Us for Light the Night 2010 on October 7

August 19, 2010

I have struggled with writing this post. Not because there is anything difficult about the topic, but because I want it to be perfect. I want it to be so inspiring that Team Tanner alone ends a little piece of cancer. But, after poring over cancer statistics, strategizing and waiting in vain for inspiration to hit me, I finally realized that this is simple.

This is me, the mother of a child with cancer, asking the people who love us to help us make sure this doesn’t happen to another family.

Last year, Team Tanner raised $8,200 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. Friends and family gathered that night to carry illuminated red balloons in support of Tanner, who carried the white balloon of a survivor. We pulled her in a wagon because she was too weak to walk. Her little body had been injected with four kinds of chemo that day and she had spent the afternoon vomiting and sleeping. We left the decision to come up to her, and frankly, we discouraged her from coming because she was so sick. But, she was determined to see what it looked like when 3,000 people come together in support of those who are battling blood cancers and in honor of those who have lost the battle.

This year, we’re determined to raise even more money to fight blood cancers. To improve the prognosis for those who are not as lucky as Tanner, and to help find new treatments that are easier on patients and that don’t steal two to three years from someone’s life.

Our goal this year is $10,000. Tanner is planning lemonade stands (more on that when we get the details mapped out) and we’ll ask you all to help us with the rest.

Here’s how you can help:
1) Make a tax-deductible donation to Team Tanner by going to
2) Come walk with us. You can sign up on the Team Tanner site. It’s an easy, beautiful walk through downtown Nashville, across the Shelby Street Bridge and around the stadium.
3) Expand our reach by setting up your own fund-raising page on Team Tanner’s site and send emails to your friends, family or co-workers and ask them to help us stop blood cancers. Go to the Team Tanner site and it will create a page for you.

As parents of a child with leukemia, John and I come across many ways to help end cancer, especially for kids. These are all such worthwhile causes, but we feel strongly that we need to concentrate our efforts in one place. We have chosen the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which last year funded more than $71 million in research, contributing to advances in chemotherapy, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation and to the development of new drugs that are affecting patient survival and quality of life. Light the Night walks around the country raised $39 million last year. Talk about giving cancer a swift kick in the butt!!! We’re proud to be part of this event and are hopeful to make a major contribution.

Tanner is determined to “win” this year. Last year, our team raised the second highest amount for any non-corporate team in the Middle Tennessee area. Tanner would like to be #1 this year… that’s my husband’s daughter all right!

Can you help?


Golf Carts and Scarecrows

IMG_1216September 29, 2009 It’s a strange title for a post, but I couldn’t think of any other way to sum up our jam packed and super fun day today. We got up this morning and headed to Lily’s house for a play date. You’ve probably heard us talk about Lily before… she is 8-years-old and has pre-b ALL, just like Tanner. She and Tanner had such a good time playing and her Mom, Larisa, and I got to swap stories and share information, so it was good all around. Lily has a little Chihuahua named Rosie that Tanner fell in love with and she spent the rest of the day asking me if we could get one after our dog, Millie dies… thank God the dog can’t understand English.

Larisa took us all, even Rosie, on a ride around their neighborhood to tour some playgrounds and parks in their golf cart. Everyone loved that and it was such a beautiful day. It just felt so good to be out. And, I think it probably felt good for Tanner and Lily to be playing with someone that just “gets it” with no explanation needed. Lily had to take some medicine while we were there and I could see Tanner thinking, “just like me.” Both girls are out of school now, so we’ll try to get together again soon.

We came home after Lily’s house and ate lunch. Tanner got up to go to the bathroom and fell down, then she fell down on the way back… uh oh. Five minutes later, she was sitting on the couch and just began screaming and grabbing her right leg. I could tell she was in great pain and no position we tried to lay her in helped. I ended up having to give her pain killer, which eventually made her more comfortable, but she lay on the sofa and whimpered on and off for the next hour or so. She was supposed to have a dance lesson, but we canceled it. She started having pain in her leg last night and I noticed her limping on it several times today. I assume it’s neurapathy from the Vincristine, but it’s still unsettling as this is the leg that hurt so bad from the leukemia at diagnosis.

The painkiller eventually did it’s job and we went to a friend’s house for pizza and scarecrow making. All the kids stuffed their own clothes and created some very cute scarecrows. It was great fun and Tanner just seemed like one of the girls with these friends who have been so unfailingly good to us. I got a lot of grown-up girlfriend time today too, which I think really lifted my spirits.

Tanner’s six-year-old friend, Leah, held a lemonade stand today to raise money for Light the Night… so, so sweet. We’re taking her proceeds with us to the coinstar tomorrow so we can count it up and make another donation. We’ve raised almost $7,000 thus far, surpassing our original goal of $5,000 and even our second goal of $6,5000. We’re humbled beyond humbled and so hopeful that Tanner will be able to come to the walk and see all those who will be there to support her. I know I will be an emotional mess that night… it’s really just too much to believe people’s kindness. If you see the blond woman mopping her eyes and sobbing at LP Field, it will be me.

What a great day!


Lemonade for Leukemia

Lemonade for Leukemia

Lemonade for Leukemia

September 28, 2009 This afternoon, Tanner, Jake and I made a pink sign that said, “Lemonade for Leukemia.” Then, while Tanner had school with Mrs. O’Hara in her classroom, Jake and I made lemonade and packed the wagon with a card table and chairs, cups and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society red bracelets.

At 5:10, we pulled the wagon across the street and set up shop. An hour later, we packed back up, having collected $259 for Tanner’s Light the Night Team. Yes, you read correctly… $259!!! Tanner is so excited. We came home and I thought after dinner we would count up the money and make the donation on-line. But, Tanner had other ideas… she wanted to know if she could have the loose change that John and I throw into various containers throughout the house. Needless to say, we’re taking it tomorrow to Kroger to put it in the Coinstar machine to be counted.

But, here’s the best part… she lost a tooth today (that’s a whole other story) and we put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy. After putting her to bed, I came down to eat dinner and she showed up on the balcony and said, “Mom, I want to write a note to the tooth fairy to ask for extra money for Light the Night. Can you help me?”

So, she dictated the following note:

Dear Tooth Fairy,
Please leave extra money so I can get ahead of the other team and have the most money for Light the Night.
Love, Tanner, Jake, Mommy and Tanner

She asked me, while I was writing the note, why I kept laughing. I wanted to tell her that I loved her competitiveness, her never-give-up attitude and her wonderful innocence in thinking that we could somehow make up the $4,000 that separates us from the first place team. That is the attitude that will help her come through this stronger than before and I love seeing it.

So, look out! Tanner Page is on a rampage to be the high dollar fundraiser for Light the Night this year.

I want to thank my friend Robin Embry for putting together this Light the Night team for us and all my dear friends at Lovell Communications for jumping in to help. I don’t think we would have ever done this without her and it has turned out to be the most positive thing for us. I know that I’ve dedicated a lot of blog space to this event, but it’s not just because we want so badly to see this cancer eradicated. This fundraiser has given us, and especially Tanner, something positive to focus on and has empowered her to feel like she could have some effect on this disease. That is priceless and we thank everyone for helping her feel this way.

Now, excuse me while I go find my wallet and make sure the tooth fairy is generous.


This Is How a Cure Happens

September 27, 2009 I’ve been sitting here on the sofa for the last hour writing thank you emails to those who have donated to Tanner’s Light the Night Team. I’m happy to say it’s not the first time I’ve spent time writing thank yous for the event, nor will it be the last, as I am still not finished. I’ve had tears in my eyes for the vast majority of the time I’ve been writing. I can’t believe the generosity of our friends, our family and those we have never even met.

Tanner was so excited when I told her that we had passed our goal. In fact, we haven’t just passed it, we’ve blown right by it in a flurry of generosity that has made me hopeful that someday, no one will have to ever get leukemia. In the past four days, we have raised another $1,000 for a total, as of this writing, of $5,920. I can’t believe it!

This is a how a cure happens… one donation at a time… donations in honor of a little girl who appreciates it so much.

We’re planning our lemonade stand for this week so Tanner can contribute as well. She’s really excited and so hopeful that she’ll be able to walk with us on Thursday. John and I said today it will be a “perfect storm” of circumstances if she is able to come, but we’re still hoping.

We had a wonderful weekend. My parents took on the responsibility of Tanner’s medication (I didn’t realize how complicated it was until I tried to explain it) and kept the kids overnight while John and stayed in downtown Nashville Friday night. We had a great dinner at my favorite restaurant, a good night’s sleep and a leisurely, uninterrupted breakfast before meandering our way home Saturday afternoon. It was wonderful and my parents are awesome. They stayed with us Saturday night and the kids loved getting to see them.

Tanner has had some odd moments of not feeling well and not being able to describe her symptoms that have me worrying about her red counts, but her energy continues to be great, so I’m trying not to worry about it. Poor thing, I keep staring at her face to see if her lips are blue and picking up her hands to look at her fingernails. I’m sure she’s sick of me.

We have some cancer kid friends that need your prayers … Tanner reminded me last night not to forget to pray for Kinsee – an eight-year-old with T-cell ALL who goes to St. Jude on Tuesday to begin preparing for a bone-marrow transplant. She will undergo intensive radiation and chemo treatments until all the cells in her bone marrow have been killed and her white counts are down to 0. Then, they will transplant the donor’s marrow into her bones and see if she recovers. She will be in the hospital for a minimum of 100 days. This is a very dangerous procedure that, Thank God, is not part of Tanner’s treatment plan.

Another eight-year-old you have probably heard me talk about, Lily, has had very low neutraphil counts. Neutraphils are your big, infection-fighting white cells and a normal count level would be from 5-10,000. Lily’s neutraphils last week were at 300. She has had to be pulled out of school until her counts recover, after just having been able to return. Lily has not been feeling well the last two days and has had a low fever. Please pray that her immune system recovers and she does not have an infection or virus.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to help stop this disease, or at least find a more humane way of treating it.

We love you,

Clinic Day #14

September 24, 2009 I’ve yawned and rubbed my eyes through this entire day and just finished spray n’washing a mound of laundry, so I’m going to make this update brief and go to bed.

John took Tanner to Clinic today while I stayed home and tried to get done some of the things I keep not getting to recently. She just went in to have blood drawn for Counts and we were concerned she would have to get a blood transfusion if her Hemoglobin levels had dropped any more than the previous week. They had dropped some (down to 8 from 8.5). Somewhere around 13 is normal and below 8, they will consider transfusing, but the doctor thought that since Tanner wasn’t really experiencing many symptoms (i.e. her energy level is at it’s normal uncanny level) and she was not receiving any chemo this week, she did not need one. Again, we’ll watch her to see if anything changes, but they anticipate that level to be rising.

Her neutraphil level, which is the other level they watch carefully and is indicative of her infection fighting ability, was still great, although it had dropped 1500 points to 2000 from 3500 last week. Although the normal person would have between 5-10,000, 2000 is still excellent for a kid on chemo and they were pleased.

So, barring any unforeseen drops in levels, Tanner will begin the dreaded Delayed Intensification phase of treatment next Thursday by beginning steroids, receiving an IV dose of Vincristine and getting a lumbar puncture with Methotrexate. Nothing like starting with a bang.

Thursday is also the day of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk to raise money to find a cure for blood cancers. Team Tanner has raised $4,925 so far, just $75 short of our $5,000 goal. But, we don’t want to stop at our goal, we want Tanner’s team to be #1. (We were #2 at the point when they gave away the Taylor Swift tickets.) Sooooo, if you haven’t donated yet, but feel moved to do so, you have 6 more days to do it. Just go to and click on donate. Tanner is planning on holing a lemonade stand in the next week so she can donate to her team as well and… as long as her counts hold up and she holds up after a day of surgery and chemo… she will be allowed to walk with us and carry the white balloon!!! All of us who are walking will carry a red balloon in support of her. At first, she didn’t want to do this walk because she was embarrassed for people to know she has cancer, but now she is excited and hopes to be able to do it. She’s really started to accept that she has cancer and to believe that people still love and support her.

Brief post… I am just not capable apparently.

Good night,