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Young girl is cancer-free after yearlong battle with rare sarcoma

In July, Lucy Spada had her final treatment and received the good news that she is cancer-free.
In July, Lucy Spada had her final treatment and received the good news that she is cancer-free. (Cleveland Clinic News Service)

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and each year, nearly 16,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer.

One of those children is 10-year-old Lucy Spada from Wisconsin who was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.

“Lucy is a sweetheart,” said Maggie Spada, Lucy’s mother. “She’s just always concerned about everyone else in the room, about everyone’s feelings. She’s really witty and smart and very stubborn.”

Last fall, life was normal for Lucy. She had just started school and was excited for the soccer season.

“She had this significant limp during a game,” recalled Piero Spada, Lucy’s father. “We were, like, ‘Well, it’s not right. Let’s get this checked out by our pediatrician.’”

After a few tests and scans, doctors found a tumor on Lucy’s leg. It had also spread to her lungs.

“We explained there’s all different types of cancer,” Maggie said. “We were going to be with her, and as soon as she heard that, she was, like, ‘OK. As long as you’re with me, I can do this.’”

Lucy started treatment at a hospital in Milwaukee. In February, the family temporarily moved to Ohio for more specialized care at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

“It was a combination of standard of care chemotherapy and radiation therapy,” said pediatric hematology oncologist Peter Anderson, M.D.

Anderson teamed up with radiation oncologist Erin Murphy, M.D., in steering Lucy’s treatment.

“She was so brave and awesome through the whole thing,” Murphy said. “She kept a smile on for the whole time — which was really great.”

In July, Lucy had her final treatment and received the good news that she is cancer-free.

"For other kids who have it, it’s really hard, but you guys can do it,” Lucy said.