On Independence Day in 2007, Alissa and Michael Dunn were blessed with two precious twin girls, Madeline and Isabella, who seemed to be perfectly healthy.
But when the girls were two months old, their parents grew very concerned after their pediatrician pointed out that Madeline's belly had become very swollen. The doctor thought it could be cancer after taking an ultrasound, and a hospital visit unfortunately confirmed that suspicion.
Little Madeline was diagnosed with stage 4S Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that affects babies and young children. Her belly was swollen because there was a tumor the size of a softball inside of it.
When the Dunns took her to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan for testing, one doctor saw Isabelle and asked permission to do an ultrasound. As it turned out, she was also suffering from the same form of cancer.
The doctor recommended chemotherapy rather than risk surgery. The twins were separated for their first rounds of treatment and their conditions began worsening. “Things started looking grim pretty quickly. They got sick really quick and they were in so much pain. You couldn’t touch their skin. It looked like it would crack,” said Alissa.