Nine months ago, Beau Williams and Keely Edgington took their then 9-month-old Lula into the doctor’s office for her routine, monthly checkup.
As the doctor was making sure everything was okay, he felt an abnormality around Lula’s abdomen that he thought should be checked out further. When the test results came back, it was the six-letter word every parent fears: Cancer.
Lula, who is now 18-months-old, was diagnosed with 4S Neuroblastoma, a neural pediatric cancer, on April 15, 2016. After further examination, doctors found a tumor the size of an adult fist. But with the aide of chemotherapy, the tumor is steadily shrinking.
“Right now it’s in what is actually, surprisingly a technical term that’s called very good, partial remission,” Williams said. “It sounds like a vocabulary mess, but it’s not full remission. We haven’t beat the cancer completely, but it’s shrunk significantly. Considering she’s so young, adverse side effects of chemotherapy and this type of cancer has shown, in other cases, to shrink on its own without treatment. We’re in essence just waiting and seeing.”
Last week, they went in for a round of scans to see how she’s progressing. However, those scans will quickly max out the coverage the family has under their insurance plan. (As owners of Julep, a whiskey and cocktail bar in Westport, Williams and Edgington rely on coverage from the Affordable Care Act). With medical bills mounting, the family will need financial support. That’s where Williams’ alma mater comes in. Williams played soccer at Shawnee Mission East before going on to play in college at UMKC. The Shawnee Mission East soccer team recently tweeted out a link to their Medgift page asking people to help.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Williams said. “The entire community in Kansas City has been incredibly supportive. It’s incredibly overwhelming. To go all the way back to East is crazy too. It’s funny; it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve gone to high school there. There’s still so many connections there and some of the guys I grew up playing soccer with are now in the Shawnee Mission School District teaching and coaching. It’s really amazing how those relationships really can help when you’re in desperate need.”