Eden Green, 11, was surprised with Super Bowl tickets this week while getting a check-up at Texas Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, Eden’s family and hospital officials said. The tickets were provided by the hospital’s partner, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, a charity focused on fighting childhood cancer.
“She kept saying, ‘Is it really real?’ She almost wanted to be pinched,” Eden’s mother, Shannon Green, told ABC News on Thursday. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The trip to the Super Bowl comes about a year after Eden finished treatment for the rare disease.
She was diagnosed in March 2015, when she was just 10. At first she felt a pain in her leg and her doctors and parents thought it was likely a sports injury, Eden’s mother recalled. Eventually the pain was became so bad that Eden could barely walk and her parents took her to a specialist.
“We ended up seeing a bone specialist that sent us to get an MRI that confirmed it was a tumor,” Green said.
Although rare, her cancer showed similarities to other more common forms of cancer, including sarcoma, cancer of the bone, and neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerve cells that are more common in children.
Tumors were found not only in her leg but her shoulders, hips and head.
Dr. Jennifer Foster, clinical co-director of the Neuroblastoma Program at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, treated Eden and said doctors created a treatment plant specifically to target Eden’s rare kind of cancer.
“She has a very unique type of cancer with different type of malignancies,” Foster explained. “We couldn’t treat her with standard therapy.”
She underwent 14 rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation to shrink the tumors, her mom said.
“Her team of doctors came up with a custom-tailored treatment plan for her,” Shannon Green explained. “They treated her like she had both [sarcoma and neuroblastoma] cancers.”
The treatment was so intense that she later had to have surgery on her hip because the bone tissue had started to deteriorate.
Eden was able to finally stop treatment last March and currently has no signs of the disease. However, her doctors are watching her closely.
“She has PET scans every three months,” Green said. “They don’t know what to expect with this kind of cancer.”
Her doctors have sent her pathology report to multiple other specialists but so far, they’ve never seen this rare form of cancer. Green said they may even let Eden pick a new name for her type of cancer if it’s declared to be a new form of the disease.
“She wants it to have Eden in the title,” Green said. “She wanted to call it Eden’s tumor.”
Green said her daughter is now ecstatic to get to the go to the Super Bowl and plans to root for the Patriots in a tutu with team colors. She said the family spends every Sunday during football season watching the games.
“Our rule on Sunday afternoon is don’t ask us to go out … we’re heading home to watch the game,” Green said.
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