Survivor Stories

Meet Tia

"Life is good!!" exclaimed Tamiko, Tia's mother

When Tia was just a year old, mom Tamiko decided to end her relationship with Tia's father and move from Cleveland, OH to Orlando, FL. "I wanted a new life for both of us," Tamiko said. She was thrilled to find a good job and Tamiko and Tia settled into a peaceful, happy life. Tia was an energetic toddler, making new friends and enjoying her new home. Their joyous life came to a crashing halt when at just three years old, Tia was diagnosed with Stage 4 Retinoblastoma.

"When the doctor told me the news, I fell to the floor. I thought life was truly over – not just for her but for me, too," said Tamiko. Her doctor would have none of it and virtually commanded Tamiko to pick herself up – both literally and figuratively. "You will do her no good on the floor," said Tia’s physician. "Go across the street and tell them to admit your daughter because we are operating on her ASAP. We have to move quick and NOW," Tamika remembers him saying. Tia endured "rounds and rounds" of chemotherapy, radiation, a nucleation of her right eye, and a bone marrow transplant. As a single mom, Tamiko did not have the means to get to all of Tia’s treatment and doctors’ appointments. "NCCS helped me in the time of need. They sent money when I did not have it and provided a path of support," recalled Tamiko.

Tia is currently seeing a specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York every six months as well as annual visits with her oncologist. Tamiko is happy to report Tia has been in remission for almost five years, has taken karate, is a Girl Scout and an accomplished "Sparkler" (baton twirler).

"We are so blessed! Thank you National Children's Cancer Society!"