Like Father, Like Daughter:
Part 3

Emma with her family

This is the final chapter of our three-part story about Emma and her family’s battle with leukemia. Through it all, Emma’s strength in the face of adversity has amazed her parents and will inspire you. Make sure you read Like Father Like Daughter: Part 1 and Part 2 to get the entire story!

A difficult day, maybe the most difficult of Emma’s journey, was the day she lost her hair.

It didn’t happen until a good eight months into her treatment, but it happened suddenly. Emma had been complaining about loose hair getting on her clothes and face, so her mom, Sarah, decided to shampoo her hair in the tub to get the loose hair out at one time. When she dunked Emma back to rinse out the shampoo, her hair fell out all over her body. The little girl was so upset that Sarah and dad Sean decided to shave off the rest of her hair.

Sarah and Emma cried for a good two hours,” Emma’s dad, Sean, says. “It was a tough day. But soon after, she liked the idea of looking like daddy.”

Emma Keeps A Positive Outlook

Emma at home with her parents and baby sister

Emma at home with her Mom, Dad and baby sister Zoey.

Despite the challenges Emma has endured, she keeps an amazingly positive outlook. One day while Sarah and Sean were talking in a hushed tone with each other in their living room — they can’t remember about what, but guess it was something about Emma’s treatment — the little girl popped around the corner. “Today is a new day, dad!” she exclaimed, holding out a thumbs up.

“We don’t know where she came up with that, but that’s what Sarah and I have clung to ever since,” says Sean. “There’s always tomorrow, and today is a new day. We just take things one day at a time.”

Emma’s doctors say the Locks have done a great job meeting the demands of Emma’s treatment and have gone above and beyond, which has made all the difference in her progress. “They’ve been more than willing to do what needs to be done, including Sarah bringing her for chemo when she was nine months pregnant and about to give birth to another baby,” says Sara Helmig, M.D., a fellow and one of Emma’s primary physicians in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders “CCBD.”

Maintenance Phase

In December, Emma entered the maintenance phase of her treatment, during which she will receive chemo at Children’s monthly and take an oral chemo drug nightly at home for the next two-and-a-half years. Doctors have also lifted many of the restrictions placed on her during the other phases.

We’re excited to let her go outside without a mask on and interact with other kids at church and day care,” says Sarah.

Much to her joy, Emma can also take on more of the big sister role to her baby sister, Zoey. She plays and cuddles with her and protects her fiercely, something she has done ever since her arrival. When Zoey was first born and the family went for one of Emma’s treatments, Emma made sure the nurses knew that “Baby Zoey doesn’t get chemo.”

Emma can also now travel again, so the family has planned a trip this month to Disney World with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sean and Sarah also are planning trips to see family in other parts of the country.

“We’re just excited to let her live life like every other 4-year-old girl,” Sarah says.

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