Letter to the Editor: About UDance

My name is Bob Helland.

I live in Arlington, Texas.

My daughter Taylor is 17 years old. When she was 14, she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

She battled like a champion, had 12 three-day rounds of grueling chemo, and a major surgery called HIPEC where they open her entire abdomen and flood it with heated chemo fluid for several hours.

We had several clear scans, and even a wonderful Make-A-Wish trip to Italy. Things were looking good.

Courtesy of Bob Helland
Taylor Helland, 17, and her puppy Lio. After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011, Helland is cancer-free.

Then in September of 2012 she went in for some abdominal pain and they found two huge masses in her abdomen. The cancer had returned in a very aggressive way.

At that time the doctors told us “… the chances of a cure are virtually zero….”

We were devastated.

Well she’s the strongest person I’ve ever met, and she kept fighting! Twevle more rounds of chemo and ANOTHER massive HIPEC surgery.

The masses turned out to be her ovaries. Bad news that those had to be removed but good news that all the cancer was contained in these easily removable organs.

She had three follow up rounds of chemo, and right now, after 27 rounds of chemo, seven major surgeries, and over 100 days in the hospital she is doing great!

She’s a senior in high school, ready to graduate and looking forward to attending TCU in the fall.

We’ve dedicated ourselves to helping the fight against pediatric cancer, and our goal is to help another 14-year-old girl to not have to go through what Taylor went through.

You, the amazing students of UD have helped with this goal!!

I’m writing to try to tell you how much we appreciate the UD Dance marathon, and the $850,000 you raised!!!! (Wow!!!)

There are no words to describe how incredibly touched we are that you did this!

When Taylor’s cancer came back her school made a big, one-take lipdub to raise money for cancer research in her honor. They raised $15,000, which was amazing, but when we contacted her surgeon at MD Anderson, she told us they had a clinical trial ready to go, but they needed a total of $36,000.

An angel appeared to us in the form of Joe McDonough, and his Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. He sent MD Anderson a check for the remainder, and the clinical trial is now working to save children’s lives.

You, the UD students, are part of that miracle.

You, the UD students, are part of the awesome fight against pediatric cancer.

You, the UD students, are amazing.

You, the UD students, are our heroes!

Thank you so very, very much! We cannot tell you how much this means to us!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! (I wish I could say so much more!)

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