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Affliction: Spinal cancer
One Thanksgiving Day, Doug and Heather Wiggins of Wheatland, Wyo., learned the devastating news that their 2-year-old daughter Haiden had bone cancer. The details compounded their heartbreak—the tumor was embedded in Haiden’s spine.
The progression of Haiden’s symptoms had been subtle. A slight change in the way she walked and increasing pain in her hip led to a range of diagnoses from several local doctors. As her symptoms worsened, Haiden was finally referred to The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colo., where the diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma was quickly made.
Doctors performed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on her spinal cord and prevent further nerve damage. Because complete removal of the tumor threatened major blood vessels, nerves and vertebrae, surgeons could only remove a portion. Haiden then began 10 difficult months of chemotherapy and radiation.
Through it all, Haiden’s resilient spirit led the way. On any given night you may have found her gliding down the hospital halls on her IV pole singing “Dora the Explorer” songs at the top of her lungs. Today Haiden is a lively 4-year-old who dances, twirls and plays with the sheer joy of being cancer free.