Wauwatosa teen fights battle of her life
WAUWATOSA - 13-year-old Cookie Topp is a great shot on the basketball court! She says, "I like to play basketball and volleyball, and play with my friends."
These days she doesn't take her time on the hardcourt for granted. Cookie was diagnosed with cutaneous t-cell lymphoma in the Summer of 2012.
"I didn't really know what to expect out of it, I think was a good way to go through it--didn't really know what was in front of me," she recalls.
Doctors told Cookie's parents Linda and Dan that her particular lymphoma is incredibly rare in children. Linda explains, "They've never seen it, at our children's hospital, this is the first case." She adds, "When it's seen it's seen in men between 50-60 years old."
That didn't phase Cookie--who's earned the nickname "One Tough Cookie" over the years.
"Nothing seems to phase her, she tends to go with the flow and is very even-tempered," Dan says.
Doctors got to work right away--collaborating with other experts from around the world to figure out the best treatment. Dan recalls, "The one doctor even took the info and presented it at a seminar in Italy, so we even went international looking for feedback and insight."
Linda adds, "It was scary in the beginning, when more pathology kept coming back--greater level of detail about, you know the different DNA of her cancer."
Cookie went through 6 tough rounds of chemo, and spent weeks at a time at Children's Hospital. She has 'Beads of Courage' as a reminder of all the treatments.
Doctor's decided Cookie's best chance at a cure would be a bone marrow transplant. Luckily--her big sister Annie was a perfect match.
"It's like awesome she was willing to do that for me," Cookie beams.
The procedure was a success! Annie says, "It's just like really reassuring. I'm just glad I was able to do it--something that I could do for her to help her get better and I was glad I could do it."
The community has banded together in support of the Topp family as well. After her transplant, neighbors lined every tree from the hospital to Cookie's house with a green ribbon so she could find her way home!
The family is also thankful for the MACC Fund, and hopes their story inspires others who are facing a life-threatening diagnosis. Cookie says, "I think they're great. They helped me throughout this whole process, they're always there to help me to."
Cookie's mom adds, "That we are sitting here today with this aggressive cancer in a state of remission... we are so blessed, we're so blessed."