Help Sydney's Parents Please!

For: Joe & Karin Hawk
Organizer: Joe & Karin Hawk
Help Sydney's Parents Please! (Joe & Karin Hawk)
of $50,000 goal.
Raised by 86 donors
46% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Hi, my name is Addison. I am 6 years old and this is my little sister, Sydney. This is what she looked like before she got sick. Sydney has Leukemia and is very sick in the hospital. Mommy and Daddy travel to and spend a lot of time at the hospital. They take turns staying with Syd. Mommy has a computer now and does not have to go to her office every day. Daddy works from home and does not travel as much as before Syd got sick. A lot of people have been here to help. My grandparents sleep over when both Mommy and Daddy spend nights at the hospital and I get to spend a lot of time with my cousins at my Aunt Emily and Uncle E.J.’s house. Everyone is being so helpful to Mommy and Daddy with taking care of me, cleaning the house and doing laundry. Sometimes our friends and neighbors bring us dinner. I am thankful and pray for them. Mommy and Daddy made some changes to keep germs out of the house. We do not wear our shoes in the house and we use a lot of stuff to clean and paper towels so germs go away. My Sissy did get to come home for a few days, but Mommy and Daddy had to take her back to the hospital because Sydney got a fever. She was in the PICU for a long time and I was not able to visit her. That made me very angry! I really miss my Sissy! Finally, Syd was able to leave the PICU and go back to the 9th floor! I am happy that she is there because I can visit her. She is weak because she has been in bed for so long. Sydney can’t stand, walk or talk yet. I really miss hearing Syd’s voice and can’t wait for her to talk to me again. I pray for her every night and ask God to help her be brave and to get better so that she and Mommy and Daddy can all come home. During the course of Sydney’s treatment, which will last about 2 ½ - 3 years, we are going to experience financial hardship due to extra expenses and loss of income. Most of all we need your prayers. However, if you would like to help with a monetary contribution, you are able to donate on this page.

If you would like to make a contribution to be utilized solely for Sydney’s benefit, please visit her YouCaring page at the following link:

Thank you very much for your support!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 1, 2014

Posted on January 1, 2014

December has been quite the busy month, with preparation for Christmas and Sydney’s nine outpatient trips to the hospital, the month has flown by.  Monday, December 2nd, Sydney began the next block of her treatment – 1st Reintroduction.  She had to be at the hospital at 6:30 am.  Even at 5:45 am, Sydney was quite perky and happy during the drive in.  She was thrilled that she was going to the hospital and coming home the same day!  This visit entailed an operation to insert the port, a bone marrow biopsy, a spinal tap with IT chemo and pulling the PICC line.  Sydney did well through all the procedures.  Her opening pressure for the spinal tap was 23.5 (normal is between 10-20).  This is great considering her pressure on Nov. 8th was 38!  Sydney is thoroughly enjoying not having the PICC line in her arm and being able to scratch it!  She comments frequently how glad she is that it is out! 

The week of Dec 2nd Sydney was also on steroid (Dexamethasone) twice a day for 7 days.  The mood swings a four year old can have are quite scary!  The weeks of Dec 9th and 16th Sydney went to clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Mondays were longer clinic appointments; consisting of an exam, counts, and chemo.  She received IV chemo (Vincristine and Doxorubicin) and an Erwinia shot in her thigh.   The Erwinia was required because Sydney had an anaphylactic reaction to the PEG.  Unfortunately, one IV dose of the PEG equals 3 shots of Erwinia.   Wednesdays and Fridays were shorter clinic visits.  During these visits Sydney received only the Erwinia shot.  The week of Dec 16th was another week of steroids.  The weeks of Dec 23rd and 30th Sydney went to clinic on Mondays and received IV chemo.  No shots during these visits;  which was much more pleasing to Sydney!

Prior to each IV chemo treatment, Sydney was pre-medicated with Zofran to reduce nausea and we administered as needed at home too.  Fortunately, she has not experienced many upset stomach issues with the chemo.  Her main side effects have been tiredness and lack of appetite from the chemo and extreme mood swings and crabbiness from the steroids.  Thank goodness they were out of her system by Christmas!  For our Christmas celebration with the Hawk Family on Dec 21st, Sydney did not even want to open presents. 

On December 11th we received the best Christmas gift – Sydney’s bone marrow biopsy results.  “Everything looks great.  No evidence of leukemia, MRD (looking for even the microscopic levels of leukemia) is negative, and we’re not seeing any Philadelphia chromosome in any of the cells.“  This news from Dr. Randy certainly lifted our spirits and Joe and I were in a buzz talking about the good news.  Of course Sydney overheard our excitement and asked, “What is everyone so excited about?”  She did not comprehend the magnitude of the news, but was glad hear that she was getting stronger and we were all talking about her.

Santa made a surprise visit to our house on Sunday, December 15th.  Addison and Sydney were shocked!  Sydney didn’t say a word to Santa and wouldn’t sit on his lap, but did warm up a bit to give him a big hug!  After Santa's visit, Sydney couldn't stop talking about him!   Addison was excited to take a photo into school the next day to show her teacher and friends.

When Sydney went to Clinic on December 20th she was excited to see a huge Christmas tree in the lobby!  Piled 3-4 feet high around the tree were gifts donated bythe City of Pittsburgh and local area police departments for the children!  Sydney was able to choose any gift she wanted.  Her selection was a big girl bike, pink of course!  She is thrilled to upgrade from her trike to a big girl bike!  Fortunately we have had a few warm days and Sydney has been able to get out and ride her new bike.  A perfect gift for Sydney , thank you!

We had a wonderful Christmas at home with our girls, which was our best gift!  Santa was of course good to Sydney and Addison, giving them the top items on their wish lists – a pink dollhouse for Sydney and a crib and changing table for Addison’s Bitty Baby.  We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and evening surrounded by our families in our home.  We rang in the New Year with a quiet celebration at home with Addison and Sydney.  Joe and I look forward to a happier and healthier 2014 for our family! 

May you be Blessed with the same for yours.


Posted on November 26, 2013

Posted on November 26, 2013

Last Tuesday (11/19/13) Sydney’s ANC had been at zero for 5 days straight. Her doctors were suspecting that she would not begin to rebound until early the week of the 24th. Well again, our little girl surprised everyone and Wednesday her ANC was 323, Thursday 1510, and Friday over 2600! Her doctor stated that they are impressed at how strong her marrow is and that once it starts to regenerate, it just skyrockets! With her numbers increasing so rapidly, she was discharged and able to go home!! This is a major milestone in her course of treatment and marks the completion of the three inpatient High Risk Blocks.

Sydney will begin her next round of treatment, called Reintroduction, on December 2nd. This block will be as an outpatient in the clinic. A new experience for Sydney, as up to this point she has received all her chemo treatments while she has been in the hospital. December 2nd will be quite an eventful day as she will have an operation to insert a new port, pull her PICC line, spinal tap with opening pressures and IT chemo, bone marrow biopsy and up to the clinic for her chemo.

But for now we are unpacking our bags and enjoying being home for an extended period of time. With Sydney doing well and our families remaining healthy, we are proceeding on with our normal Thanksgiving plans -spending lots of time with the Hawk and Friday Families. We are all looking forward to our first normally celebrated holiday in 2013! 

Thanksgiving has an entirely new reflection for Joe and me this year. We are incredibly thankful for the generous financial support we have received from family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and strangers. We are grateful for all the continued prayers for Sydney’s healing and recovery. We truly believe they have made a substantial difference! For the medical teams that have worked with Sydney throughout the course of this year, we have immense gratitude. And we are eternally grateful that God has spared our daughter’s life, that she is still with us, and He will continue to protect her as she fights this terrible disease. 

May you and your families have a blessed Thanksgiving!  We will! 

Posted on November 19, 2013

Posted on November 19, 2013

During the past two weeks Sydney has received the high dose chemo drugs for this high risk block.  It began with the HD ARA-C. As mentioned before, this drug is 20 times stronger than the high dose she received in September.  While receiving the HD ARA-C, and for 24 hours after, Sydney had to receive eye drops every 6 hours.  These are to protect her eyes from this chemo, but this was quite a tortuous process.  It took 3 people to administer these drops – one to hold, one to pry open her eyes and one to do the drops – all the while Sydney was screaming. While on the HD ARA-C, Sydney received steroids and continuous Zofran to help with nausea. The steroids sure did change our little girl.  She was not her normal happy self, had frequent mood swings and wouldn’t really speak to anyone.  The nurses said that a grown man on steroids had nothing on this 4 year old little girl – watch out!

Already, by Wednesday, 11/6 Sydney’s appetite was gone.  This was one of the side effects of the HD ARA-C.  She ate nothing and only had a few sips of water and milk for 3 days.  Friday 11/8 Sydney had an LP to test her opening pressures and receive chemo into her spinal fluid.  Her opening pressures were 38 - the highest in months.  Her doctor isn’t concerned because clinically she is doing well and not displaying anything to be concerned about and there are many contributing factors that may have an impact on the pressures during the procedure.  Finally on Saturday, 11/9 she was hungry again and began eating a bit.  Her appetite continues to come and go, but she is eating at least one good meal a day.  Sunday, 11/10 Syd received IVIG. This a  transfusion of antibodies. She handled this well, with no reaction.

Sydney finished up with her last chemo, a shot of Erwinia, on Wednesday, 11/13.  Wednesday her ANC plummeted from 1400 to 180.  All the other blood numbers followed the downward trend in the next couple of days.  Sydney received a transfusion of platelets on Friday and a red blood transfusing on Saturday.   

Friday, 11/15 Sydney’s ANC hit zero and has now been there for 4 days.  Despite receiving the daily Nupogen, Sydney does not have any Nuetrophils.  These are the cells that make up white blood cells. 

Monday, 11/18 Sydney had her G-tube changed.  Her pain over the past few days indicated that this change was necessary.  The new tube was increased two sizes!   

We continue to pray that Sydney will remain fever and infection free during this highly susceptible period.  We greatly appreciate your continued prayers and support.

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