The Hutchinson Family


Amelia’s journey began in April this year.  Before a trip, she had a slight cough. I wanted to make sure she wasn’t getting sick so I felt her neck to see if her lymph nodes were enlarged. That’s where I first felt a hard non-moveable lump that was larger than a quarter. Trying to not be over-reactive I waited 3 weeks to see if it would go away. During that time it grew and I knew something was not right. We saw her pediatrician, who agreed that it was not normal and decided to send us to see Pediatric Hematology/Oncology if the lump didn’t subside in 4 weeks. I prayed about it and spoke with my coworkers and agreed that we needed to have this checked out now.

After our first meeting with Oncologists in May, they said she looks way too healthy to be a cancer patient. The lump was continuing to grow and an ultrasound had shown it was solid and not a drainable cyst. Her blood work also showed no evidence of cancer. We were then sent to an infectious disease specialist to let them rule out Mono, cat scratch fever, and many other bacteria and viruses. By this time the lump had grown to 5cm and was very prominent. She decided to have it removed so we could have answers. Her surgery was in the middle of June and left her with a scar the length of the side of her neck.

The surgeon said that it did not look cancerous because it came out cleanly. While waiting for pathology, we were nervous wrecks, not ever expecting the dreaded phone call we would receive. On June 29th, our lives changed and we felt like we were hit by a truck. The oncologists called and said Amelia has Burkitts lymphoma. She explained that it is a very aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and is very rare. She also assured us that it is very curable after aggressive chemo regimens. They had us drive to Portland within an hour of the phone call to perform cat scans to see if she had masses anywhere else. They were concerned she had a mass on her spine and abdomen due to some symptoms she was having. Luckily after a very long day, the cat scan showed no other masses, which is a miracle with this type of cancer.

They let us go home and enjoy the 4th of July with family and were set to figure out what stage she is the following week. That entailed sedating her and performing a spinal tap, 2 bone marrow biopsies and they placed her picc line.  We received the call that all was clear and it was not in her bone marrow or spine so she was stage 1 and would need two rounds of chemo that would happen that Friday. When we showed up, they let us know that we hit another bump and they wanted to perform one more surgery to remove a lymph node on her opposite side of her neck that was slightly enlarged. So her 3rd procedure in 3 weeks happened and came back with no cancer in it. As an answer to our prayers, and to the amazement of her Oncologists, Amelia was officially stage 1. We explained to Amelia and her big brother Lucas what to expect and that she would lose her hair. We thought this would be awful for her. After a few tears, she decided she wanted to shave her head. So the weekend before chemo, Clutch Hair Co. in Hood River cut 12 peoples hair in support for Amelia and even let her help.

We were admitted in the middle of July to start her 1st round, which consisted of 4 chemo drugs over 7 days.  Amelia did so amazing that we got to leave on day 5.  The next week her hair started falling out and she handled it so beautifully. After 2 hard weeks dealing with sores in her mouth, severe stomach and leg pain, and being neutropenic, she perked back up and we started round 2.

That round went just as well and we are dealing with the side effects now trying to get her healthy enough to start school. From here we sit, wait and pray that the cancer does not return. We have cat scans and blood tests bimonthly, to make sure and after 2 years of clear scans she will be considered cured. This has been my worst nightmare come true, but even though we feel like we are stuck in a whirlwind, we have seen God with us every step of the way and such an outpouring of love from this beautiful community. Every time we asked for prayers for specific ailments, those prayers were answered almost immediately. Thank you for all the prayers, love and encouragement we received. I do not think we could have done this without all of you. Amelia has shown that she is one of the toughest, most resilient little girls I have ever met, and we are so blessed to call her ours. We truly believe God will do amazing things in her life.


Want to read updates on Amelia and the Hutchinson Family?

Take a look at our “Where are they now” section of the website or click HERE to go straight there.