Mother and 4-year-old daughter diagnosed with cancer 11 days apart

Summar and Sapphire Ruelle

“We’re superhero cancer fighter girls.” – Summar Ruelle

On September 6, 2012 Summar Ruelle of Beaverton, Oregon was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Then on September 17, her precious 4-year-old daughter Sapphire was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. What has happened with the Rouelle family since that horrible 11-day span highlights the unbreakable bonds of family and love.

Here is a report, filed by KGW, that touches on the simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring story of Summar, Sapphire and husband-father Pascal:

Summar said, “You could never imagine that you could have such timing,” adding, “I wanted to forget about myself and my own diagnosis and put all my treatments on hold.”

On the same week that Sapphire began her treatment at Randall Children’s Hospital, Summar started her fight at Providence St. Vincent. Pascal quit his job to become a full-time caretaker for the most important women in his life.

Summar and Pascal also have a 5-year-old son, Jayden. “There’s been days when I just wish I could take both their sicknesses and put them in me to deal with them myself. I would deal with that a lot better,” the father said.

Dr. Jason Glover of Randall Children’s Hospital spoke with KGW and was astounded by the family’s resilience:

“I have no idea how they have dealt with all this. They’ve had tremendous grace under a lot of pressure.”

He added that Sapphire’s prognosis was extremely hopeful. He said that most children with Sapphire’s diagnosed leukemia have better than a 90% chance of being cured. For the 36-year-old mother of two her outlook is not as promising. “I think now we’re in a better position, because we can all be together. But we do have a ways to go,” she said.

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Ruelles were recently treated to a vacation at Disney World. The highlight for Sapphire, like it would be for many young girls her age, was the opportunity to meet the Disney princesses.

The Ruelle family has a website dedicated to their story that also provides people the opportunity to help them through donations. I encourage you to visit their page here.

The Ruelles wrote:

“There still are many “Whys?” but never a “Why us?” Just “Why?” It is an important distinction to make. How could this happen to an innocent child, and at the worst possible time while the child’s Mother had just been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer? How is a Mother to care for her child in this state? Summar and Pascal’s lives have been turned upside down – not once, but twice – in the span of two weeks. The answers to the question “why” will never entirely be understood. But something good MUST come out of this tragedy.”

We send this out to the Ruelles as they fight this dreaded disease together:

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