Chloe Charendoff, Age 12, Non-Hodgin’s Lymphoma

Helping Others Through Hope

Chloe(2005) Chloe was 10 years old when she started displaying cold-like symptoms following a family trip. She didn’t feel too badly but her mom took her to the doctor just to be safe.  The doctor assured her it was the flu.  Chloe got better but two weeks later the symptoms returned and Chloe was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Twelve-year-old Chloe Charendoff is used to granting favors, but this one was special. One of her doctors asked her to follow him to the pediatric intensive care unit at Texas Children’s Hospital to talk to a woman whose son was just diagnosed with leukemia.  The mother spoke little English and was terrified he was going to die. The doctor introduced Chloe and told the mother her story.  She wrapped her arms around Chloe and, with tears in her eyes, the mother held her tightly because she knew if Chloe could make it there was hope for her son.

Chloe was 10 years old when she started displaying cold-like symptoms following a fun trip to Delaware with her family. She didn’t feel too badly but her mother, Teri, took her to the doctor just to be safe.  The doctor assured her it was the flu and sent them home.  Chloe got better but two weeks later the symptoms returned. Teri also noticed a raised lymph node.  She brought Chloe back to the doctor and was adamant about finding the origin of these symptoms.  The doctor took a chest x-ray, which showed that Chloe had a sizeable mass over her heart.

She was immediately sent to Texas Children’s Hospital emergency room and then routed to Texas Children’s Cancer Center where she went through a battery of tests.  The doctors determined that the mass was malignant but needed to perform a biopsy and take samples of her bone marrow so that they could type the cancer correctly.  Within three days Chloe was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“No one wants to hear the cancer word,” said Marc, Chloe’s father.  “But the worst part for me was the waiting — to see what kind of treatment she needed.  I wanted them to start curing her disease right away.”

Chloe was overwhelmed at first.  She bonded with a nurse who took her under her wing and helped her through the process.  Chloe started chemotherapy.  It was in her second round of treatments that everything hit her.  Her father was brushing her beautiful straight hair when they both noticed it was coming out in clumps.  Chloe broke down in tears.

Chloe went through five rounds of chemotherapy. She grew very close to her doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other patients over the five months of her treatment.

“When Chloe heard that she didn’t have to come back for a while she became very sad,” said Marc.  “The doctor had to sit down with her and explain that this was a good thing – it’s what we’ve been shooting for.”

Chloe is now considered in remission and she is very excited that her hair has grown back in curly.  Determined to give back to those who helped her and help others who are going through what she went through, Chloe volunteers on the Texas Children’s Family Advisory Board.

“I can’t say enough about the people at Texas Children’s.  They encourage you to be part of a team,” said Marc.  “You won’t find a distribution of people of that caliber anywhere else.  Whenever Chloe needed anything, whether it be a hug or someone to joke around with or someone to be tough with her, they were there.”