Our Inspiration ~Julianna's Journey
Julianna Sayler was the middle child with sparkling blue eyes, blond curls and dimples. She was born six weeks premature and a fighter from the beginning. She was a happy, confident and caring eight year old little girl. Anyone who has met Julianna knows she had a contagious smile and infectious giggle. Julianna was involved in a local 4-H club, soccer, gymnastics, and playing with her brother, sister and animals on her family’s small farm.
Less than one month after Julianna celebrated her 8th birthday, her parents noticed that her right eye did not move past midline. They rushed her to the local emergency room where she was then transferred to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington for an MRI of her brain. In an instant, the family’s world was forever changed, Nov. 20th, 2016, when the words no parent should ever have to hear were spoken. “Your child has brain cancer”.
DIPG brain cancer affects about 250-300 children in North America each year. There is no known cure, no improvement in treatment in the last 50 years and no one has yet to survive this aggressive form of cancer that typically affects children between the ages of five to nine years old. After the standard 30 treatments of radiation Julianna participated in the London CED (Convection Enhanced Delivery system) treatment at the Harley Street Clinic in London, England from March – May 2017. Although CED was experimental and hopeful, her tumor did not respond to the chemotherapy and began to progress in May.
After consultation with Julianna's team of oncologists, Eric and Stacie decided to not return to London for further treatment. At the end of May, Julianna was accepted into another experimental treatment program offered in Monterrey, Mexico. She received Intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC) treatments directly to her brain and spine from May – August, 2017. Julianna's tumor was beginning to respond to IAC treatments, by decreasing in size and reducing in enhancement.
The Sayler family traveled the world in search of a cure for their Little Lady, but unfortunately due to complications from DIPG, Julianna suddenly passed away on August 18, 2017. It was just two days short of being nine months from her diagnosis. Throughout this journey, Julianna's family experienced God's leading and blessing. They truly appreciate all the prayers and support from their local community, family and friends around the world.
Over the course of seven months,Team Julianna had to raise a significant amount of money to pay for Julianna's treatments in London and Monterrey. The Sayler's understand the financial stress a DIPG diagnosis puts on a family. Parents should not have to be fundraising to save their child's life. In the November 2017, Julianna's family established the Julianna Sayler Foundation For DIPG Brain Cancer - in her honor to continue to raise awareness, support families and help fund
research to find a cure for DIPG.
"An 8 Year Olds Perspective Fighting Cancer"
An interview with Julianna while in London, England two weeks after brain surgery and her first CED infusion of chemotherapy. The interview was videoed in March, four months post diagnosis.