Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) July 20, 2006
Early last year, Gary and Melissa Feld took their two-year-old daughter Reagan to her pediatrician to check out a fever that just wouldn’t go away. A seemingly normal visit soon took a peculiar turn. After a blood test, Reagan’s pediatrician referred the Felds to a hematologist and informed them that an appointment had been made immediately. Not more than 30 minutes later, the Felds awaited the hematologist’s results in nervous anticipation as they sat among a waiting room of hairless children hooked to IV’s. They would soon receive a piece of news that would turn their lives upside down.
Reagan was diagnosed with leukemia on January 20th, 2005. What awaited her was beyond imagination for her family: 130 weeks of chemotherapy treatment, blood tests, spinal taps, countless medications, and hospital visits in combination with a rollercoaster of emotion that brought good and bad days alike. Even now, a year and a half later, the Felds are still reeling from the news. But they credit much of their strength to just one source: Reagan. And what about Reagan’s take on cancer? “I’m going to beat cancer like Mario Lemieux!”
The Felds mold their lives around a simple saying that Reagan’s oncologist once gave: “Don’t stop living.” Melissa adds that because day-to-day life is so unpredictable, there simply is no other way to live. The family strives to provide Reagan with a sense of normalcy. Her condition, though clearly has an impact on her life, doesn’t make her any different from any other 4-year-old girl who aspires to grow up to be a princess, talks incessantly about her younger sister, and tries to do as many activities as her illness will allow.
When the Felds first heard about the FLAVORx SuperKid Contest, they were hesitant to act- would a win for Reagan really be within reach? But Kenny Kramm, President and CEO of FLAVORx, had a vision beyond just a contest to find the new face of FLAVORx. This was also an opportunity for an inclusion program- a contest that allowed children of all backgrounds, walks of life and experiences to have a fair shot at winning. As the father of a special needs child, Kramm experienced firsthand the heartbreak that can accompany being different. “My daughter Hadley rarely received invitations to birthday parties. She didn’t enter pageants or contests. Our only hope for her was that people would treat her like a normal little girl and let her be a part of normal little girl activities.”
In addition to its regular promotion, the company made special efforts to contact children’s charities and non-profit organizations nationwide to find unique and exceptional children nationwide. An extremely supportive network of friends has enabled the Felds to overcome much of what has been thrown their way in the past year and a half. It was this same network of unbelievable friends and family that pulled together enthusiastically, to say the least, to encourage people to visit the FLAVORx website and vote for Reagan among the Finalists to become the new SuperKid.
In addition to chemotherapy, Reagan’s treatment requires her to follow a stringent regimen of multiple medications. On average, she takes 4 medications, but at times the number can jump upwards of 8. The Felds have used FLAVORx flavors such as Grape and Watermelon to help Reagan swallow much-needed medications like Bactrim, Augmentin and Colace. Most recently however, Reagan says that Apple is her favorite flavor. Gary adds that as she gets older, FLAVORx plays an increasingly important role in medicine time for Reagan. He notes, “Now that she’s older she knows what she likes and doesn’t like. It’s a lot harder to convince her to take something that tastes bad!”
When asked about her recent win in the SuperKid Contest, Reagan answers, “I liked seeing myself on the computer!” A broad smile stretches across her face. It’s a smile so big it appears even her eyes are smiling. Reagan doesn’t like to discuss her leukemia and even at such a young age seems to extraordinarily, yet casually, be able to change the topic of conversation away from cancer. But through her own unique way of giving character to her situation, one might hear about her “Mushroom” or “Tubey”- the chemotherapy tube inserted into her chest, or tales that tell of other components of her treatment equipment that are rumored to be named after famous hockey players (her favorite being Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals). As for what Reagan wants for future, it’s simple: “To get better and go to Disneyworld!” An NFL-star after a Super Bowl win couldn’t have said it any better.
To learn more about Reagan and the Felds, please visit http://www.caringbridge.org/va/reagansydney. For more information on FLAVORx, please visit http://www.flavorx.com or contact Teresa Chen at 800.884.5771, extension 234.