Diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in June last year, Chloe began a grueling battle that's lasted over 500 days.
The Cress family is preparing for a very merry Christmas this year with their beloved daughter, Chloe, finally coming home after spending a year and a half in the hospital. At just 12 years of age, this brave teen had to go through a journey few others her age have ever had to experience. Diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in June last year, Chloe began a grueling battle against the disease. Over 500 days, several rounds of chemotherapy, multiple complications, and eight arduous procedures later, she is now finally cancer-free and eagerly looking forward to enjoying the holidays with her family in the comfort of her home.
According to a report by WCYB-TV, Chloe was just about to finish middle school at Innovation Academy in Sullivan County, Tennessee, when her life was turned upside down. While her peers moved ahead, the teen began the fight of—and for—her life. On June 5, 2018, Chloe's father Shawn Cress took his little girl to the hospital after she complained of back pain and noticed a limp in her walk. During her medical examination, doctors at the Niswonger Children's Hospital discovered a mass in her chest and Chloe was soon flown to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
It was at St. Jude that Chloe and her family received the news that would change their lives forever. The teen was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Since the diagnosis 18 months ago, Chloe and her loved ones have lived at the hospital while the teen underwent radiation and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. The radiation resulted in complications with her esophagus which took eight separate procedures to rectify.
Speaking of his brave young daughter, Shawn revealed that although Chloe was scared at first, she became much calmer once they arrived at St. Jude. It was almost as if she knew everything would turn out okay, said Shawn. Adjusting to their new lifestyle within the hall of the hospital was quite difficult for the Cresses, but the relieved father revealed that his daughter was happy to be finally coming back home.
After multiple ICU visits and intensive cancer treatment, Chloe will get to leave the hospital on December 21 and spend her first Christmas at home since being diagnosed with cancer. "Thank God my daughter has beat cancer. It’s just crazy. It’s been so long, and you lose hope along the way, but it’s finally over. It’s surreal. You just can’t describe how happy you are. You kind of just keep going through the treatment and wonder when we’re gonna get there," said Shawn.
The first thing Chloe wants to do when she gets home cancer-free is spend time with her family and dogs, Shawn revealed. It has been a very long time since she's been able to play with her dogs, one of which was just a puppy when she got admitted to St. Jude for her treatment. As emotionally and physically exhausting the past 18 months have been for the Cress family, Shawn is grateful for just how supportive their community has been through it all. The teen has received cards from all over the United States and several people have made donations to the family to help with her treatment.
"It’s crazy how much love and support you can receive," said Shawn, expressing gratitude to all those who've been praying for the day his little girl would be cancer-free. Although the journey has been incredibly difficult, Shawn shared some words of advice for others going through similar experiences. "Always have hope because when it seems like everything’s at it’s worse, God can make miracles happen," he said. A GoFundMe has been set up for the Cress family to help them give Chloe the best Christmas ever this year.