The Girl Who Conquered Dragons

Most dragons in storybooks live in dark caves and torment local villagers, but not in our tale. In fact, our dragon lives inside of our heroine and it torments her own body. Meet Christina – the Girl Who Conquered Dragons.

Christina - The Girl Who Conquered Dragons

When doctors first discovered Christina’s dragon at the age of 6, they believed that it couldn’t breathe fire – that it was benign. But upon opening our heroine’s chest, they realized they were terribly wrong. Not ready for battle, they stitched her up, but not before removing a small piece of the dragon so they could figure out its weaknesses and how best to combat it.

For weeks they waited to see how the tests would return, but decided to start feeding the dragon with poison (in the form of chemotherapy) before knowing if it would diminish the dragon’s wrath. Through it all, our heroine remained strong.

the best medicineWhen it was determined that the species of dragon in Christina was a very rare one – rhabdoid sarcoma – doctors realized they needed to change course. For months our heroine was filled with the poison that all hoped would shrink the dragon to the point that they could remove it.

After a very long 10-hour surgery, which seemed like a lifetime to her parents, the doctors were able to remove the dragon from Christina. But its fire still remained, so our heroine would endure many more months of chemotherapy and radiation to try to extinguish it fully.

Throughout this period, Christina had an ally on her side – the enCourage Kids Foundation.

Instead of poison, they helped fill her body and soul with laughter and enjoyment. Along with her family, she enjoyed attending movie days, visits to museums, holiday parties, and even our Gala.

Christina - NY Knicks

Meeting NY Knicks legend Larry Johnson

But it was the opportunity to go to NY Knicks and Ranger games that sparked a fight in our heroine. Watching these warriors go to battle on the court and rink gave Christina the inspiration to fight her own battle outside of the doctor visits.

“These moments when she attends games is an escape – it’s where she can forget about doctor appointments and enjoy herself. This is the best medicine for all of us,” shared dad Tony.

encouraging family

Family time at our holiday party

Most dragon slayers wear a suit of armor for protection, but Christina’s was within her, much in part to the other kids she has met through these Escapes.

“Christina is always so excited to go to these events that enCourage Kids offers to children,” said mom Suzanne. “She always says that she sees all different types of children with all different types of disabilities and it makes her feel as though she is strong and that she can conquer anything in the world.”

As the species of Christina’s dragon was a rare one, she continued to have regular PET, CT, and MRI scans over the years to make sure it didn’t rear its head again. October 3, 2016 marked the 5-year anniversary in which she could now claim she is dragon and cancer free.

Today our heroine is 11 years old and bares her battle scars on her neck and chest. When she looks at them in the mirror, she is reminded of how brave she was in fighting AND winning her battle – conquering the dragon inside her.

Watch Christina’s Board Story and learn more about our Breaking Barriers campaign

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