Emma speaking

A tribute to Emma…

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Fundraising for Kick Sarcoma Foundation In Honor of Emma

by TiffanyHuang

Childhood cancer affects more than 15,000 kids per year, and claims the lives of a
quarter of them. It rips away their hopes and dreams, brings them pain and suffering, and may even scar them forever, yet they share one thing – they never stop fighting and believing.

Our friend Emma is one such cancer victim, and she has changed our own hopes
and dreams. Her situation has become our life’s passion, and drives us to be heavily engaged in fundraising and spreading the awareness of osteosarcoma in children.

When first diagnosed with cancer, it is impossible to prepare for the damage it does,
even in adults. More times than not, children seem unfazed when the doctor tells them they have cancer, not because they do not care, but simply because they do not know what “cancer” means. They are not prepared for the months of chemotherapy, surgeries, and hospital visits. Nor for the countless needles, monitors, and tubes, let alone the harm cancer does to their bodies.

A widely circulated phrase says, “The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest
people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest.” Cancer survivors are the kindest and wisest, and they smile the brightest because they have suffered more pain than anyone should in a lifetime. Their smile is brightest, because they know to appreciate life, because it can be taken from you in a heartbeat.

Emma Oldager is a childhood cancer survivor, first diagnosed in the fall of 2012, when
she was just 9 years old, a fourth grader at Shanghai American school where we all went. Our families were always close. She had complained of a sharp pain in her left leg after a fall. Her parents took her to the hospital, and a few days later, the doctors delivered the news of the dreaded “C” word. Emma had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. The cancer had spread to a major blood vessel in her lower left leg and it had to be amputated to stop the cancer from spreading.

Emma left her friends and family in Shanghai, and with her mother, moved to Singapore
for immediate treatment. In Singapore, the leg was amputated just above the knee, followed by gruesome chemotherapy treatments and being fitted with a prosthetic. In those horrible dark hours, Emma managed to continued her school work almost daily through Skype, with the support from her school and friends. In October 2013, after almost a year in Singapore, Emma was allowed to fly back to Shanghai to continue her school life there. She was greeted by more than half of her entire grade. We held a Relay For Life in honor of Emma. We set up tents in our school track field. We kept running from dusk to dawn …

Emma was a tough girl. I still remember when we were at her home the first night she
arrived back. There were many steep steps on the winding staircase to her upstair
bedroom. My twin brother and I were standing on the base and struggled to help her get up the steps. In no time, Emma handed her crutches to her little brother, and limped and hopped her

way up the steps on her one good leg. Halfway up, she almost slipped, and we all rushed to help, but strong and determined Emma refused, got up and slowly hopped the rest of the way to the top.

Now, Emma swims before school and rides horses in the afternoons. She continues to awe and amaze everyone who hears her story.

We moved to PV in the summer of 2014. Emma and her whole family moved to
Singapore that summer too. Our family were constant in touch. Last year, Emma became the face of a foundation (KickSarcoma.org) raising money towards the cure for osteosarcoma, representing the many other inspiring brave fights against the cancer. Emma also spent many hours working on a short film (http://shareshirley.kicksarcoma.org/) about her story and raising money for sarcoma research.

We were very touched after watching this short film, and immediately asked what we
could do to help with her project. We have spent time since brainstorming ideas for fundraisers. We contacted Nadia, the KickSarcoma organization officer in Singapore. She was excited about our offer to help, and sent us green wristbands, shoelaces, and postcards that represent the support of KickSarcoma.

In the summer of 2016, my family received an email from Emma and her family, telling
us that Emma had been cancer-free! The medicine to treat it is already very advanced and the cure within reach. With just a little more support and help, the eighth most-common childhood cancer could be treatable. We intend to do our part to make sure it is.