Any child diagnosed with cancer faces the battle of her life. But what if her family lives in an unstable country and cannot see a doctor? That’s what happened to Rosie Jones.
Albert and Koliju Jones knew something was wrong with their baby girl in early 2004.
“Her abdomen was getting large and very firm on the right side, and she complained of increasing pain,” recalls Albert.
The family lived in the West African nation of Liberia. “Our country was in civil unrest and medical services were not available,” he says. “We were just living with [the problem] until we had the opportunity to come to America.”
The luck of an immigration lottery gave them their opportunity. In June 2004, the Joneses moved to Thief River Falls, Minnesota, where other family members had settled.
After an exam at a local medical center, Rosie was referred to University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. At just under 2 years old, Rosie was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, an aggressive kidney cancer, which had spread to her lungs and liver.
Under the care of pediatric cancer specialist Brenda Weigel, M.D., Rosie went through an intense 16-month treatment program that included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Rosie finished treatment in October 2005. Her family remained strong and hopeful throughout the battle. “There is always hope, even when there seems to be none,” says Albert. “We never knew we were going to come to the U.S.A., but we had hoped that a cure was possible.”
Today Rosie is a healthy third grader who excels in school and loves ballet dancing and singing.
Her parents credit Rosie’s recovery to her health care providers—from Weigel and the entire medical staff to the social workers, occupational and physical therapists, and lab technicians.
“The treatments were just blessings,” Albert says.