Every shirt you see is lime green. Every Instagram is captioned #SSA (Stay Strong Addie) and #TeamAddie. Every wrist dons a lime green bracelet. Lime green has taken over in support of Addie Napierski, a seventh grade student at SAS, who was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma in September of this year.
Relatively rare and aggressive, Burkitt’s Lymphoma attacks the lymphatic system, which helps the body fight infections. It is usually characterized by a rapidly growing tumor in the abdomen.
In July of this year, the Napierski family left the United States for the first time to move to Singapore. At the time, they couldn’t imagine anything crazier happening to their family.
For a while before the move, and continuing in Singapore, Addie had been experiencing constant stomach pains. This lead to numerous diet changes, going wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free, but nothing could permanently shake the stomachaches. After a couple months of unsuccessfully trying to identify the problem, April (Addie’s mom and licensed nurse), took Addie to their pediatric gastrointestinal specialist for specific testing. They decided to do an ultrasound and other tests in an attempt to figure out what was causing this pain.
Unfortunately, those tests did not yield any results. So next up was an MRI.
The first clue was revealed by the MRI images. A suspicious mass was found on her small intestine, and exploratory surgery became necessary. It was discovered that the suspicious mass was in fact a tumor. Addie had stage 2 Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
Holden, Addie’s seven-year-old brother, spoke for everyone at the time when he said, “I felt very scared and worried.”
But the family had one thing to be thankful for. Burkitt’s lymphoma, due to its aggressive nature, is very responsive to chemotherapy. So while Addie’s diagnosis was unexpected and devastating, the family has no doubt that she will #KickCancersButt!
Addie is an incredible girl, although “incredible” doesn’t do her justice. Everyone who knows her is blown away by her exceedingly determined spirit, positive outlook and her astounding smile.
“She’s still really pretty and she still plays with her friends and she still is happy all the time. Having cancer doesn’t affect how happy she is and doesn’t change that she is a nice person,” Holden said.
Currently in Salt Lake City, Utah, recovering from her second round of chemo, Addie has two more rounds to go at the Primary Children’s Hospital. She has a long road ahead of her, but she’ll have no shortage of support along the way.
Friends and family have shown support by organizing fun runs, selling t-shirts and making sure that the boys at home are well fed. Mason, Addie’s eleven-year-old brother, said they receive “one dinner every Sunday. We had really good ribs the other night!”
In response to the love their family has received, Cade, Addie’s father, said, “It is said that affliction is a good man’s shining time. I want you to know that this affliction has been SAS’s shining time. My family and I have appreciated every thought, message, visit, and smile. A simple “thank you” seems inadequate, but thank you for your thoughts and support.”
Link to the Morning Show interview with Addie’s older brother, Austin
Link to Addie’s fundraising website