Shelby is a 16 year old Goshen High School Student battling Metastasized Osteosarcoma (also known as Recurrent Osteogenic Sarcoma).
Shelby first began battling her cancer at the age of 13, when what was thought to be “growing pains” turned out to be a 6.36 cm tumor on her left femur. Children’s hospital immediately scheduled Shelby for a biopsy of the tumor and results confirmed it was Osteosarcoma .
Shelby began a regimen of 23 rounds of chemotherapy. Within 6 months of treatment, Shelby underwent a limb saving surgery to remove the damaged part of her femur and muscle. The surgeon at that time replaced her femur with a titanium rod and Shelby received a total knee replacement. Shelby essentially had to relearn to walk again while undergoing debilitating chemotherapy treatments.
After 10 months of the original treatment, the doctors felt confident that Shelby was on her way to remission as no further occurrences had developed. Unfortunately, at Shelby’s 3 month follow up scans, they found the cancer had restaged to her lungs. In May 2010, Shelby underwent immediate surgery of the left lung to remove the tumor and followed the surgery with another 6 rounds of chemotherapy.
Shelby was originally scheduled to receive between 8-10 treatments but her body began showing high levels of toxicity and her blood pressure became dangerously low in December 2010. At that time, her parents as well as her doctors felt that particular chemo regiment was now causing more harm than good and treatment was stopped.
In February 2011, Shelby received another set of scans and results showed she had two new tumors. Shelby again underwent surgery to remove the tumors. At that time, it was determined that chemotherapy treatments needed to be held off as Shelby’s body had still not recovered completely from her last rounds.
Scans were taken again in March 2011 and at that time Shelby’s scans confirmed six new spots on both lungs. Doctors enrolled Shelby into a trial study of a new chemotherapy that had shown promising results in adults with similar cancer. For Shelby the study ended before it began. More scan results concluded one of Shelby’s tumors had breached the pleura of her lung which automatically disqualified her for that study. The Doctors continued to search nationally and internationally for new studies.
In June, Shelby began an oral chemotherapy in hopes it would reduce the size of her larger tumors as well as be tolerated better than her previous treatments. Shelby developed a reaction to this treatment that caused a rash over her entire body and other side affects which caused her to be taken to the emergency room and admitted into the hospital. At that time chemotherapy was once again stopped.
On July 25th Shelby received a PET scan. a full body scan and an MRI. The results from these tests showed that Shelby’s cancer had again metastasized, with developed tumors on her spine and brain.
In the beginning of August, Shelby became paralyzed by the tumors on her spine. Through consultation with Shelby’s doctors, her family was informed they had exhausted all possible treatments. From that point her care would be for comfort through Hospice. The family made the decision for Shelby to receive this care at home where they would be able to spend Shelby’s last days together. As a family they took these days one day at a time and took not a minute with Shelby for granted.
Shelby lost her battle on September 9th, 2011 at home surrounded by her family who were supported by the many people who loved her.
Testimonial From Bert & Deb Foster
Team Chandler, Inc. members are truly angels in disquise! In a time when our family was at one of the lowest points in our lives, these angels stepped in. TEAM CHANDLER took Shelby and our family under their wings providing love and support. This support was felt daily. Our family will never forget, nor will we ever be able to thank them enough.. What we can do however, is to support them in their mission to “Pay It Forward”. As a family we will “Pay It Forward” in memory of our beloved daughter Shelby Marie Foster 8/2/1995 – 9/9/2011. God Bless Team Chandler!