COuRAgeous for Cora

Laurie Witmer / Honor Pages

Cora and many children like her have lost their lives to Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very aggressive form of Pediatric cancer. As this disease is considered “rare”, it is difficult to get necessary funding that would go towards finding a cure. We are partnering with CC-TDI in the hopes that no family will have to lose their precious child to this disease in the future.
  • $8,151


  • $1,000


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About COuRAgeous for Cora

Our sweet Cora was the strongest girl we ever knew. She was first diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma when she was 15 months old. Cora endured a year of surgery, radiation and chemo and was considered cured five years later. We thought we were one of the lucky ones, as Rhabdo is highly aggressive and often returns. Our luck ran out just before Cora turned nine years old. She suddenly had trouble walking, it was discovered, due to a tumor on her spine. The cancer was back and this time, Cora would have to endure more surgery and radiation and even harsher chemo. She was pulled out of school, lost her hair again and was sequestered from family and her friends. Amazingly, she went through all of this without complaint and was again considered cancer-free. Again we thought we had beaten the odds. Sadly, just a few months later, routine scans revealed the cancer had returned, this time in her CSF fluid. She was diagnosed with Leptomeningeal disease which has no cure. At this point, we asked Cora what she wanted to do. We could try to keep it at bay as long as possible or hope for a miracle with a clinical trial. Either way, it meant more treatments and time in the hospital. We didn’t want her to have to endure anymore just for our sake. Cora said she wanted to “fight until I can’t fight anymore”. The treatments we tried worked for a year, until seizures and brain swelling became too much for her small body to handle. We brought Cora home on hospice just after Christmas, 2022. She passed away on January 12th. Despite Cora’s determination, wonderful medical care and many prayers for her to get well, Cora lost her battle with rhabdomyosarcoma. This is the fate of so many children who are diagnosed with this disease. 

We need safer, less-harsh treatments. Cora endured many late effects, including not being able to eat due to esophageal damage from radiation. Above all, we need a cure. We need to give these kids a chance at life. We know Cora would have made a beautiful impact in the world. She was smart and funny; feisty and sweet. She was a beautiful dancer and loved arts and crafts. She was generous and caring and wanted to give back, using her creativity as either an art teacher or a child life specialist. Cora loved life and didn’t deserve to have hers cut so short. We miss her everyday and do not want any other family to have to go through what we are going through. 

Research that can lead to new treatments and cures for rare pediatric cancers is the goal of The Children’s Cancer Therapy Institute. We appreciate any donations  towards making that goal a reality.

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