Yamil, Sophia, Owen and Ella
The Ride Janie Ride Foundation would like to introduce to you our 2024 recipients. It is our honor to have them as part of the Ride Janie Ride family. Continue scrolling to read each of their biographies. Ride Janie Ride would like to thank all of those who nominated individuals. We will not forget any of the nominees and hope that they may be part of Ride Janie Ride in the future.
Our Superhero Yamil is a brave and courageous 9 year old with a heart of gold!
In June 2020, we sat across the table and observed Yamil couldn’t catch his breath. Was this “kid being a kid”, we asked ourselves. Yet something didn’t seem right. Then he started having a low-grade fever, was not eating well and looked pale. When we brought him to see his pediatrician, he sent us for bloodwork right away. It was then, when we received a phone call that not only left us speechless but began a journey no parent ever would imagine for their child. The call that our little boy had B cell Leukemia and had to be rushed to the hospital. Yamil began treatment and even though there were complications along the way, Yamil quickly overcame them and persevered. After 2.5 years of treatment, with smile in hand he rang the bell in September 2022.
We were all so excited, happy and looking forward to 2023. Just the thought of bringing some normalcy into his life brought smiles to our faces. We all hoped it would be the year of recovery and getting him back to being himself. It was also a year he was expecting a baby brother. In January 2024 we welcomed a healthy baby boy. We were all thrilled about the new baby but unfortunately, our world once again shattered when after a couple of weeks after baby brother was born we come to find out Yamil's cancer had returned. This time it was more aggressive and stronger chemotherapy would be needed along with radiation. Our path also was different as a bone marrow transplant would be needed.
The process of finding a donor was nerve racking to say the least. A few months later we were blessed to find out that the transplant team had found a matching donor for our Superhero. In May 2023, Yamil received his transplant and once again our Superhero went through this with such grace, bravery, positivity and resilience. It was such a tough recovery but once he started feeling better, he would find his ways to still have fun in the hospital. Whether it was playing hospital bingo, singing with the music therapist or scaring his nurses with his remote-control spider. He tried to enjoy as much as possible.
After 2.5 months pf being inpatient Yamil was allowed to come home. That meant the world to him and to his Family- to be reunited once again.
Now, December 2023, our Superhero is doing great. We celebrate as many milestones as possible. He got his port removed this month and is anxiously looking forward to going back to school to see his teachers and friends. We are looking forward to our Superhero having a healthy future and finding his ways to give back. An ounce of his positivity and personality is enough to light up a room! We are proud of our Superhero and looking forward to seeing his strides and continue to thrive!
Hello, this is Sophia, she just turned 7 in November. She loves to draw, sing and make people laugh.
Sophia was sick for a couple of weeks before her diagnosis. She started to complain of leg pain, seemed
to be limping a little bit. That same night we took her to the ER, they said it might be growing pain and nothing else, so they send us back home.
Then it wasn’t just leg pain, it became knee and back pain, which caused us to worry more since it seemed a lot more difficult for her to walk. We were going back and forth from different doctors and different hospitals. During the second week we noticed she wasn’t going to the bathroom and was now complaining of stomach pain. They all said different thing such as, “it’s growing pain or it’s her just battling an infection”. Then they narrowed it down to it being constipation. They gave her enemas and called it a day. This went on for about a month. She was in constant pain and no results what so ever. She didn’t sleep since she was always uncomfortable, she’d cry herself to sleep which is very rare for her. She’s never one to complain nor cry.
One night I noticed her neck seemed a little swollen. We took her to the ER they said they weren’t going to look into it because they are seeing her for constipation and nothing else. They just recommended we take her to her thyroid doctor; which we did the very next day. She said that wasn’t a thyroid issues and we would more likely take her to her pediatrician. We were so frustrated, we didn’t want to see her in pain and no one was giving us any answers. We made a last attempt to take her to Lurie’s children hospital since she was having a high fever.
Unfortunately on August 24th Sophia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We finally got an answer to what was making our Sophia so miserable. Now she’s getting her treatment and hopefully she reacts okay to it. Her treatment will last for two years. Within these two years I know it’s going to be very difficult but we have faith she’ll win this battle.
Owen was born during Covid on the evening of November 12th, 2020. I felt this intense need to protect him from anything that could harm his 7.5 pound little body. Perhaps it was a new mother's instinct or just the panic and fear of Covid but I made sure that every person who came near him was healthy and not presenting any symptoms of illness. Over time as things returned to pre-pandemic life, we adjusted as a new family of three and with pride took our baby Owen to events, family parties, and museums, to help him learn and grow. Twenty-two months later his baby brother, Liam came along and we felt complete as a family. We decided to go on a camping trip the week of April 1st, 2023 and while camping, I noticed some dots on Owen's arm. Initially, I thought that they were related to a fever rash, however after a quick pediatrician visit when returning home, we learned that it was petechiae and we were told to go to the Emergency Room immediately. Four weeks later and we were finally able to return home. During those four weeks our son at the age of 2.5 was diagnosed with AML leukemia which is the more aggressive, fatal and harder to treat leukemia compared to ALL (not that either one is good/better to have). Also, he had received his first round of chemotherapy, was accepted into a clinical trial and caught an infection on top of having to already go into surgery not once but twice to get a central line placed into his chest which would allow for fluids, antibiotics (to treat infections and fevers, and there were many fevers) and chemotherapy to be administered. To say we as parents and a family were exhausted is an understatement. We had to leave our jobs, with no return date known, manage the 24/7 care for Owen on top of trying to find time to maintain our home, care for Liam and make sure that we paid our bills!
After months of chemotherapy, dozens of ER visits, scary days and even scarier nights with 105 fevers, we are focused on Owen's health and healing and hoping that with time our family will slowly recover from the damage that cancer caused. We are immensely grateful for all of the love and support shown to us by complete strangers who are now some of our closest friends. This is something I never thought would happen to us but the reality is that it did and this is the part we are still grieving, the life we once lived before cancer came into our lives. Owen has continued through treatment to be the shy, quirky, smart, and funny child that he is. He even helps the doctors and nurses with check-ups and says "all done!" or "looks much better!" I am so proud to be his mom, he is so resilient. His most treasured items are his blankets, burpees that he collects and motorcycle ride-on toy. His favorite hobbies are trying to wrestle his brother, watching Daniel the Tiger, and playing hide and go seek.
Ella was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor on her right kidney along with some smaller nodules on her lungs. She had her right kidney removed along with some lymph nodes. She did 11 rounds of radiation and completed that in February of 2023. She will have a total of 43 weeks of chemo.
Ella is a very smart little girl. She knows how to spell her name and all her abc’s and can count to 20 all by herself and she is 3 years old. She is very loving and caring and loves to help take care of her 1 year old brother. She loves feeding him and burping him and just holding him all the time. She is very outgoing and has tons of energy. She loves to play on the slides at the park and ride her scooter and drive her pretend car. She loves dancing to music on the TV and could dance for hours. She also loves to play doctor. She is always taking our temperatures with her thermometers and checking our hearts with her stethoscope (which she has four of lol). She says when she grows up she wants to be a doctor. She loves wearing dresses and will wear them all day every day and even to bed. She is now starting to get into pretend makeup and loves to pretend putting make up and cutting people’s hair. Her favorite characters are Elsa, Minnie Mouse, Peppa Pig, Bubble Guppies and Bluey. Her favorite color at the moment is blue. She has the biggest heart and the most contagious smile and laugh. She knows how to put a smile on anyone’s face. As of a July she has had clear scans and no resemblance of disease. Ella is still her bubbly self and always smiling.