Daisy Love Merrick’s Story
Daisy Love was born to a wonderful family who adored her in the beautiful beach city of Carpinteria. Her life was filled with laughter and wacky costumes play dates with friends and constant discovery. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Daisy would say, “I’m leaning toward astronaut, but maybe warrior for the Lord!”
In September of 2009, during her first month of kindergarten, Daisy fell down on the playground. For an active, bouncy 5 year-old, the fall wasn’t unusual…but Daisy’s response was. Instead of resuming play, she sat limply and told the school staff: “I need to go the hospital.” When her parents arrived at the school, they agreed, and rushed her to a hospital in Santa Barbara to check for possible internal injuries. The doctors delivered news far worse than any playground accident:
Daisy has cancer.
Daisy underwent a lengthy surgery to remove her Wilms tumor, which was the size of a Nerf football and took up most of her abdominal cavity. Following the surgery, she was left with only one kidney. She underwent difficult treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. She lost her beautiful, golden hair, her eyelashes and eyebrows, and much of her energy. For many months, she was unable to leave the hospital or her house as her family and loving community prayed for a miracle. Daisy survived her first battle with Cancer.
After the treatment was completed and her first scan came back clean, Daisy celebrated! She and her family visited Hawaii, swam with sea turtles, ate shaved ice on the beach, surfed in the ocean, and enjoyed a beautiful month of health, until Daisy began to complain of a stomachache that became unbearably painful. For the second time, she was rushed to the hospital, and for a second time, the devastating words were spoken:
Daisy has cancer. Again.
This time, the tumor was the size of a grapefruit, and it took two difficult and dangerous surgeries to remove it. Daisy started a second, stronger course of chemotherapy. The beautiful peach fuzz that covered her head again fell out, and there was a much smaller chance that she would survive the recurring Wilms tumor. One day, as she received her daily shot, she wept, “I hate cancer.”
Daisy fought bravely and again with the love, prayers and support of the community. Daisy was healed from cancer again. One day, her parents found her spinning the globe and kissing it. Daisy said she was doing that “to thank all the people who are praying for me.”
For the next 12 months, Daisy was able to return to the life of a normal 7 year old. She began taking horseback riding lessons, dancing jazz and ballet, and enjoyed friends, family and her dog, Sugar without fear of germs. Recently Daisy went in for a routine scan and the dreaded words were spoken for the third time:
Daisy Has Cancer Yet Again.
On April 11, 2012, Daisy’s third recurring Wilms tumor was removed from her abdomen. The tumor was only the size of a golf ball, but the operation required that her spleen be removed as well. She survived the surgery and now faces more chemotherapy, more difficult procedures, and more excruciating treatments. The Merrick family is in a battle for Daisy’s life. The next steps include chemotherapy and a possible stem cell transplant. Her parents are pursuing both traditional and progressive cancer treatments in America and Israel. The estimated cost not covered by insurance will total close to half a million dollars.